2020-11-04

The weird centaur celestial body has dual identities at the same time. Scientists are arguing about it

By yqqlm yqqlm

In the solar system between Jupiter and Neptune, there is a group of very strange small celestial bodies.

In 1977, scientists discovered a small celestial body between the orbits of Jupiter and Neptune and named it Chiron (Chiron)-half human and half in Greek mythology Horse character. Since then, scientists have discovered more and more small celestial bodies similar to it here, so they are collectively classified as small centaur celestial bodies.

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Further research makes scientists more and more confused:The observation results show that they are all small celestial bodies made of rocks, which indicates that they should be a group of asteroids. However, sometimes, these small celestial bodies will be like comets. When the outer material vaporizes, they will form a halo of gas and dust similar to coma.

The so-called coma refers to the comet-like atmosphere formed around the comet nucleus after the surface material of the comet is sublimated. The coma makes the comet look slightly hazy, and as the comet gets closer and closer to the sun, the coma will become larger and larger. This is an iconic structure of a comet, but it appears on a celestial body that is almost only rocky and similar to asteroids, making the small centaur celestial body a group of alternatives in the solar system.

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(picture description :Scientists have taken the clearest Chiron image so far)

The true identity of the centaur has always been the focus of debate among scientists. Just look at their names. It is not easy to observe these celestial bodies because they are far away from us and their size is small. Furthermore, because the operation mode is not very regular, it takes a long time to observe the telescope. As a result, scientists also want to spend their precious time on more efficient research projects. Therefore, many studies on the centaur celestial body have to rely on previous images.

Scientists traced back to past observations and discovered that as early as 1895, some people had discovered centaur celestial bodies. Generally speaking, we call those small active centaur celestial bodies that can drag out gas. But in the past 100 years, scientists have only discovered 18 active centaur celestial bodies. Recently, scientists have discovered a small active centaur and named it Centaur 2014 OG392. Through its research, scientists seem to have discovered the secrets of these celestial bodies.

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This research comes from Northern Arizona University. The leader is Colin Chandler, an astronomer at the school. He said:In order to conduct this research, they studied a lot of archive images, and at the same time with the help of three devices, namely:

  • Inter-American Observatory’s dark energy camera
  • Walter Bard Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile
  • Discovery Channel Telescope at Lowell Observatory in Arizona

Through these three With the powerful observation ability of the telescope, they obtained a series of new data on the centaur. At the same time, the researchers took a two-pronged approach to improve their research methods.

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(picture description :Las Campanas Observatory in Chile)

Chandler said:“We have studied a new technology that combines observation data such as color and dust quality with modeling work. In order to estimate the properties of celestial bodies such as volatilization and sublimation or orbital dynamics.”

They pointed out in the paper:This technology uses a very advanced algorithm, which can search for the movement in the existing space image. trace. Through this method, they found evidence that Centaur 2014 OG392 sublimated its material into gas and left a halo similar to a coma structure.

Through two years of observation records, they found that this small centaur does have its uniqueness. So they did further research and used a computer to analyze what type of ice on the surface of the Centaur 2014 OG392 would sublime, leaving them with a striking trail.

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(picture description :2014 OG392)

Easier said than done, the matter of each celestial body is not single, but very complex. Therefore, the Centaur 2014 OG392 must also have different types of ice on the surface, which is quite difficult for researchers to calculate. Even so, the latest data and the most advanced research methods still give them enough confidence. The research team believes that they already know what happened on Centaur 2014 OG392 or other small centaur celestial bodies.

Chandler said:”We detected a distance of 400,000 kilometers (248,548 miles) from 2014 OG392. The coma’ structure, and our analysis of the sublimation process and dynamic lifespan shows that carbon dioxide and/or ammonia are the most likely factors that cause this and other centaurs to become active.

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Whether it is from the origin or composition, 2014 OG392 and comet’s comet Hair is highly consistent. With this discovery, we can say that it is a comet, not an ordinary asteroid or a small centaur. To this end, the researchers are very excited to give it a comet exclusive name:C/2014 OG392 (PANSTARRS).

The reason why scientists are very interested in these small celestial bodies is that they are likely to have been formed in the early solar system and have always maintained their original state. In other words, they are like a memo recorded in the earliest time of the solar system, recording some major events that the solar system has experienced at that time, and various things that happened later, including the orbital changes that the major planets of the solar system may have experienced. .

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It can be said that these centaur Between the orbits of Jupiter and Neptune, there is a very dangerous environment. They were not pulled into the orbit of Jupiter or thrown out of the solar system. There must be a reason. This is the clues that scientists have. We can use these status quo to reverse inferences and perhaps see how the planets in the early solar system were distributed.

In the solar system, centaur celestial bodies are a group of strange flowers, and each of their unique features may contain important secrets of the solar system. Therefore, scientists have been paying attention to them, trying to unearth these secrets and tell us how the solar system evolved to what it is today. Who knows, maybe someday in the future, they will give us an incredible answer, let us feel the mystery and greatness of the universe.