"The reflectance spectrum of 2004 EW95 was clearly distinct from the other observed outer Solar System objects", explains lead author Tom Seccull of Queen's University Belfast. However, the region between Mars and Jupiter did not have enough raw material to give birth to another planet and raw materials started orbiting in the region making a belt known as the asteroid belt.
If the asteroid is indeed a carbon-rich exile that was kicked out of its original home by a young gas giant, it offers confirmation to theories that gas giants partied up in the early days of the solar system and ejected rocky orbits into far-away orbits.
A 300-kilometer-long asteroid, which is rich in carbon and moves in the distant Kaper at the edge of our solar system, about four billion kilometers from Earth, has discovered an worldwide team of astronomers.
An artist's impression of Kuiper Belt Object 2004 EW95.
The "exiled" asteroid was first noticed by Wesley Fraser, an astronomer at Queen's University Belfast in the United Kingdom, during routine observations with the Hubble Space Telescope, due to the asteroid's distinctive reflectance spectrum.More news: Palestinian killed and hundreds wounded in "Great Return March"
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Seccull concludes: "Given 2004 EW95's present-day abode in the icy outer reaches of the Solar System, this implies that it has been flung out into its present orbit by a migratory planet in the early days of the Solar System".
The outward migration of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune is a critical element to our current solar system formation theory.
Such models suggest the Kuiper Belt should contain a small number of rocky bodies, perhaps also carbon-rich asteroids. This suggests that it originally formed in the inner Solar System and must have since migrated outwards .
Coupled with the distance to the Kuiper Belt, it was like looking for a giant mountain of coal against the pitch-black canvas of the night sky, said Thomas Puzia from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and a co-author of the recent paper detailing the research. Nevertheless, researchers were able to identify two features from the object's spectra that corresponded to the presence of ferric oxides and phyllosilicates. That's because since the solar system's formation, these "carbonaceous asteroids" have been unique to the inner asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Carbonaceous or C-type asteroids are the most common type of asteroid - Bennu, the target asteroid for NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission is one, but like most of this type they typically orbit a lot closer to the Sun. "The discovery of a carbonaceous asteroid in the Kuiper Belt is a key verification of one of the fundamental predictions of dynamical models of the early Solar System". It is the first time that such an asteroid carbonate, a remnant of the primitive solar system, is discovered in that frozen area.
These minerals suggest that the object formed under conditions similar to those that formed numerous carbonaceous asteroids closer to Earth.