Curious Cosmic Case: Stealing Sedna

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Turns out, a apt peaceful star had a rapist girl of vast proportions.

A new investigate out from Leiden Observatory and Cornell University competence strew light on a extraordinary box of one of a solar system’s some-more outlandish objects: 90377 Sedna.

An artist’s source of Sedna. This depiction assumes that Sedna has a small as nonetheless undiscovered moon. Image credit; NASA/JPl-Caltech

An artist’s source of Sedna. This depiction assumes that Sedna has a small as nonetheless undiscovered moon. Image credit; NASA/JPl-Caltech

A group led by astronomer Mike Brown detected 90377 Sedna in late 2003. Provisionally named 2003 VB12, a intent after perceived a name Sedna from a International Astronomical Union, after a Inuit enchantress of a sea.

Distant Sedna (circled) relocating opposite a starry background). Image credit: NASA/Hubble

Distant Sedna (circled) relocating opposite a starry background). Image credit: NASA/Hubble

From a start, Sedna was an odd-ball. Its 11,400 year circuit takes it from a perihelion of 76 astronomical units (for context, Neptune is an normal of 30 AUs from a Sun) to an extraordinary 936 AUs from a Sun. (A thousand AUs is 1.6% of a light year, and 0.4% of a proceed to Proxima Centauri, a closest star to a solar system). Currently during a stretch of 86 AU and headed towards perihelion in 2076, we’re propitious we held Sedna as it ‘neared’ (we use a tenure ‘near’ loosely in this case!) a Sun.

But this bizarre trail creates we consternation what else is out there, and how Sedna wound adult in such an individualist orbit.

The study, entitled How Sedna and family were prisoner in a tighten confront with a solar sibling  looks during a probability that Sedna competence have been snatched from another star early on in a Sun’s career (of interstellar crime, perhaps?)  The group used supercomputer simulations displaying 10,000 encounters to learn that forms of nearby stellar passages competence outcome in an ice dwarf universe in a Sedna-like orbit.

Zooming out; a middle solar complement (upper left), a outdoor solar complement (upper right), a circuit of Sedna (lower right) and a middle corner of a Oort cloud (lower left). Image credit: NASA

Zooming out; a middle solar complement (upper left), a outdoor solar complement (upper right), a circuit of Sedna (lower right) and a middle corner of a Oort cloud (lower left). Image credit: NASA

“We compelled a primogenitor star of Sedna to have between one and dual times a mass of a Sun and a closest proceed to be 200-400 AUs,” Dr. Lucie Jilkova of Leiden Observatory told. “Such a tighten confront substantially happened while a Sun was still a member of a birth star cluster — a family of about 1,000 stars, so called solar siblings, innate during a same time comparatively tighten together — that was about 4 billion years ago.”

The circuit of Sedna. (Note Neptune and Pluto towards a center) Image credit: NASA/JPL

The circuit of Sedna. (Note Neptune and Pluto towards a center) Image credit: NASA/JPL

The best fit for what we see currently in a outdoor solar complement in a box of Sedna, is a tighten (340 AU) thoroughfare from a Sun — that’s over 11 times Neptune’s distance — of a 1.8 solar mass star  inclined during an angle of 17-34 degrees to a ecliptic. Sedna’s stream orbital desire is 12 degrees.

Rise of a Sednitos

The paper assigns a tenure ‘Sednitos’ (also infrequently referred to as ‘Sednoids’) for these Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt intruders with identical characteristics to Sedna. In 2012, 2012 VP113, dubbed a ‘twin of Sedna,’ was detected by astronomers during a Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in a identical looping orbit. The ‘VP’ nomination warranted a as nonetheless unnamed  remote universe a brief nickname ‘Biden’ after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden… hey, it was an choosing year.

There’s good reason to trust something(s?) out there shepherding these Senitos into a identical circuit with a allied evidence of perihelion. Researchers have suggested a existence of one or several heavenly mass objects indolence out in a 200-250 AU operation of a outdoor solar system… note that this is

a apart scientific-based contention contra any would-be Nibiru associated non-sense, don’t even get us started…

If researchers in a investigate are correct, Sedna competence have lots of company, with maybe 930 planetesimals likely in a ‘Sednito region’ of a solar complement from 50 to 1,000 AUs and 430 some-more additional planetesimals littering a middle Oort cloud from a same early event.

“We focused on a sold instance of a stellar confront with characteristics from a ranges mentioned,” Dr. Jilkova said. “For this example, we estimated that there would be about 430 bodies identical to Sedna in a outdoor solar complement (beyond 75 AU).”

Fun fact: One probable argumentative claimant for a birth cluster of Sol and a solar complement is a open cluster M67 in Cancer.  It’s an intriguing idea to try and lane down a star we stole Sedna from 4 billion years ago regulating bright analysis, yet researchers in a investigate indicate out that a other some-more large star is substantially an aging white dwarf by now.

Astronomy from a aspect of Sedna is mind-bending to contemplate. Currently 86 AU from a Sun and headed towards perihelion in 2076, Sol would seem usually 20” opposite from a aspect of Sedna, though would still gleam during bulk -17 to -18 nearby perihelion, about 40 to 100 times brighter than a Full Moon. Fast brazen about 5,500 years towards aphelion, however, and a Sun would low to a insignificant bulk -12, a full bulk (2.5 times) dimmer than a Full Moon.

The perspective from Sedna looking towards a middle solar complement in 2015. Note a 5 grade red margin of perspective marker. Image credit: Starry Night Education Software.

The perspective from Sedna looking towards a middle solar complement in 2015. Note a 5 grade red margin of perspective marker. Image credit: Starry Night Education Software.

Shining during bulk +21 in a constellation Taurus, astronomers know small else about Sedna. Based on liughtness estimates, Sedna measures about 1,000 km in diameter. It does seem to be a reddest intent in a solar system, and competence spin out to be the ‘red twin of Pluto’ as recently suggested by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, finish with a aspect abounding in tholins.

And a new era of observatories competence expose a value trove of Sednitos. The European Space Agency’s Gaia astrometry goal should expose lots of new asteroids, comets, exoplanets and apart Kuiper Belt objects as a spin-off to a primary mission. Then there’s a Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, set to see initial light in 2019.

“The pivotal square of a nonplus is to indeed observe some-more Sedna-like objects.” Dr Jilkova said. “Currently, we know usually of dual such bodies. More discoveries are approaching in a following years and they will strew light on a start of Sedna and a family and a ‘criminal record’ of a Sun.”

It’s a fascinating story of interstellar whodunit for sure, as a Sun’s early days of vulgar youthful evasion uncover before a eyes of complicated day astronomical detectives.

Source: Universe Today, created by David Dickinson