Double Planet Beyond Kuiper Belt To Help Scientists Learn More About Solar System’s Formation


A team of researchers has studied a distant double planet space object in an attempt to learn more data which could support a popular theory. A key component to understanding planet growth is to learn how planetesimals form. Planetesimals are bodies more substantial than 1 kilometer which are bare to remain united due to the effects of gravity.

In the early stages of a planet growth, dust grains will collide and adhere to each other as they become larger particles. When they are larger, the forces implied in the clash are also stronger and more harmful. Researchers have struggled for a long while to learn the mechanisms which allow planetary growth to surpass what has been deemed to be the meter-size barrier.

According to the streaming instability theory, large dust grains will interact with the gas, which can be found near young stars, and the streaming mechanisms favor the accumulation of grans into regions with a high-density level. These regions will then collapse due to the gravitational pull and for planetesimals.

The double planet would help us shed more light on the formation of the solar system

To further their knowledge, the team decided to explore a double planet which can be found in the Kuiper Belt, located beyond Neptune. In comparison to traveling asteroids and comets, the Kuiper Belt has remained relatively undisturbed since it appeared.

The primordial objects which can be found within would provide valuable information about the young solar system. To simplify the task, the scientists decided that a pair which follows the direction of a planet’s orbit is a heads-up while following the opposite direction is a tails-up.

By harnessing the power of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Hawaii-based Keck Observatory, the researchers discovered that almost 80% of the binary pairs follow a heads-up or prograde. The result contradicted a previous theory which claimed that binary systems appear when a couple of passing planetesimals are retained into a binary. Further research is already underway, and the results were published in a peer-reviewed journal.


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