Over 100 new minor planets found at edge of solar system

Astronomers have discovered more than 100 new trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), minor planets located in the far reaches of the solar system.
For the study, published in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, the researchers used data from Dark Energy Survey (DES), an international collaborative effort to map hundreds of millions of galaxies, detect thousands of supernovae, and find patterns of cosmic structure that will reveal the nature of the mysterious dark energy that is accelerating the expansion of our universe.
The study also describes a new approach for finding similar types of objects and could aid future searches for the hypothetical Planet Nine and other undiscovered planets.
“The number of TNOs you can find depends on how much of the sky you look at and what’s the faintest thing you can find,” said Gary Bernstein, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.
Using the first four years of DES data, Pedro Bernardinelli from the University of Pennsylvania started with a dataset of seven billion “dots,” all of the possible objects detected by the software that were above the image’s background levels.
He then removed any objects that were present on multiple nights — things like stars, galaxies, and supernova — to build a “transient” list of 22 million objects before commencing a massive game of “connect the dots,” looking for nearby pairs or triplets of detected objects to help determine where the object would appear on subsequent nights.
With the seven billion dots whittled down to a list of around 400 candidates that were seen over at least six nights of observation, the researchers then had to verify their results.

Oman Observer

FREE
VIEW