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Asteroid at the Edge

9 May 2018, 16:35 UTC
Asteroid at the Edge
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Our current depictions of conditions in the early Solar System involve titanic change, with the giant planets moving inward and then outward, creating gravitational havoc and scattering inner system objects in all directions. Such disruptions doubtless happen in other infant planetary systems and because of them, we can predict a large population of so-called ‘rogue’ planets that move through the galaxy dissociated from any star. Closer to home, there may well be small objects kicked into extreme orbits that bear evidence of these migrations.
The ‘grand tack’ hypothesis sees Jupiter forming at around 3.5 AU, well in from its current 5.2 AU orbital position, with migration all the way in to 1.5 AU before a reversal of course and movement outward to its current position. Imagine Jupiter plowing through the asteroid belt — twice — and the chaos of its passage, producing a wide scattering in asteroid orbital inclinations and eccentricities. The ‘Nice model’ likewise involves gas giant migration, and has been invoked to explain the Late Heavy Bombardment as well as populations like the Kuiper Belt.
Now we learn of an observation that may teach us something about these events. A Kuiper Belt Object tagged 2004 EW95 is carbon-rich, ...

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