Outer solar system not as crowded as thought

By | October 6, 2008

A new finding has determined that the outer solar system appears not as crowded as some theories suggest, with astronomers unable to find small chunks of rock and ice in the region, which they were expecting to locate. The search in question, the Taiwanese-American Occultation Survey (TAOS), spent two years periodically photographing portions of the sky to look for small chunks of rock and ice orbiting beyond Neptune, in a region of the solar system called the Kuiper Belt.

The survey targeted Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) with sizes between 2 miles (3 km) and 17 miles (28 km). Since such objects are too small to see directly, the survey watched for stars to dim as KBOs passed in front of and occulted them.  … The outer solar system hence appears not as crowded as some theories suggest, perhaps because small KBOs have already stuck together to form larger bodies or frequent collisions have ground down small KBOs into even smaller bits below the threshold of the survey. – phenom

0 thoughts on “Outer solar system not as crowded as thought

  1. Andrew

    An Important and significant question you pose:

    Granted that the sky is a mighty big place: The further outwards we look, the exponentially greater the volume to search, and for tiny, disbursed “sand-grains” of matter. These tell-tales at any scale, even several kilometers in girth, seem teasingly small bits to be looking for, by any method. Of course. I could be wrong.

    What might be a speculated and highly speculative estimate for a total and aggregate mass of any such gas and other debris as contained within an agreed boundary of the Oort Cloud? That of a minor planet? A full Neptune-sized planet? Somewhat larger? In addition, debris flung out of our own early solar system? Was it not lately suggested in at least one or two popular publications that such a collection might be even greater even than first supposed? That is, our star may or may not have formed in concert with a collection of many other stars -now long-since disbursed; that this was from some single great cloud, and our own star perhaps dragged more even than its’ allotment of primrdial debris: A vacuously diffuse and imponderably large Oort Cloud?

    NASA / JPL report that their New Horizons Space ship (en route to the Pluto system) travels one million miles a day and so far has not been smashes to bits hitting even a grain of sand speak volumes for the emptiness of space. Ony 4 years to go!

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