Monday, 3 June 2013

The Most strange area in the Solar System !!!

We are all familiar with the fact that the solar system is a cosmic spiral group, with a core glowing sun, nine planets orbiting around which, among which the Earth. As well known, but less popularized component is present in the Solar System Kuiper belt, which is framed beyond the frontier of planetary orbits. This is similar to the asteroid belt, but 20 times as wide and up to 200 times more massive. Like the asteroid belt, it consists mainly of small bodies, remnants of the formation of the solar system with a high content of frozen volatiles such as methane, ammonia and water. Taken together, the Kuiper Belt is a mysterious entity in itself and analyzed fragmented, provides real issues of debate and controversy.

The fastest spin

Tiny planets and other bodies that make up the Kuiper Belt around our Solar System have always been a mysterious cosmic group, but now astronomers have discovered in their turn something that I think might be the strangest object in this part of the galaxy.

Discovered on 28 December 2012 EL61 cataloged and named "Santa" (Christmas) for a while, little planet now known as "dwarf planet Haumea" after the Hawaiian goddess of fertility, has a circumference equal to that of Pluto and a third of its mass, but also made ​​"a giant rugby ball," according to Mike Brown of Caltech, one of the astronomers who have studied it.

From its shape, to satellites, Haumea is a strange body, but a celestial object that could reveal some interesting things about the history of collisions in the solar system, and about the appearance of the primordial Kuiper belt, which is located beyond the orbit of Neptune the most distant planet in the solar system. 

When astronomers first identified Haumea, noted a rotation about 25% of its brightness - when brightest, when more settled - once it every two hours. If Haumea were round, this would have meant, most likely, the object is a revolving two hours, an incredible speed which - in theory - would disintegrate it, says the same Mike Brown. As such, astronomers have determined that it is more likely to be elongated Haumea and have a full rotation every four hours, which still gives him the title of body smoothly with the highest rotational speed of the solar system.

The unusual shape of the planet is just the result of its rotation. Due to centrifugal force, the planet is drawn out in the equator, forming a bulge. Earth itself has a less pronounced version of this protrusion the same reason. Haumea's overactive rotation means that if any creature or object would stand on its surface gravity would face a very different from that of Earth. First, would be retained with a much smaller force, the more the planet rotates faster, the more the tendency to peel them grow solutions

Satellite Surprise

But has same shape as that of a rugby ball that is this planet and its rotation speed are not the only oddities found. Hume has a satellite neighborhood and very unusual.

It is known that some of the objects which are part of the Kuiper belt have a satellite orbiting them, in many cases considered to be a smaller body, captured by the gravitational force of the higher object. But apparently that's not the case Hi'iaka, Haumea's satellite that scientists consider it too small to be among the items seized. Moreover, its components is formed by more than 90% of water ice.


It turned out that the existence of Hi'iaka scenario would fit a body that hit Haumea and scattered remains frozen in its orbit. Haumea is large enough to make a differentiation elements like Earth, so denser and heavier components to be located in the core, and the easiest, especially ice to remain on the surface. So, following this block analysis, when the planet was crashed by another body, the objects were scattered over the surface of pure ice. 


Giant collision

Observations Hi'iaka's later helped to determine its orbit and revealed another surprise: a second satellite, called by astronomers Namaka. No other Kuiper belt object is not known to possess more than one satellite. Namaka is another product that has chipped Haumea collision, most likely sometime during the early history of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago.

Collision suspected telling interesting things about early astronomers belt. Haumea is a pretty big object was most likely hit by a similar size. But "large objects are quite rare" in this context, says Mike Brown, therefore, was either one random shot or Kuiper belt had its beginnings as constituted several large bodies than there is now.

Astronomers have no idea what would have happened to these objects if they have disintegrated as a result of collisions or if they have gone through other means. Hi'iaka and Namaka are not, however, the only byproducts of collisions suspectatei fragments smaller than they have also broken the dwarf planet, orbits similar settling along the Kuiper belt. This scenario makes Haumea to be a very appropriate name: Haumea is the Hawaiian goddess of fertility and birth, and the mother of many other Hawaiian deities, including Hi'iaka and Namaka, who were born as broken pieces of it .

Ice cubes

Brown and colleagues found ten of the largest fragments of Haumea, the Kuiper belt and scattered them named after the goddess of other sprouts. Certainly and others will occur or has already been discovered without know their origins. The discovery of these small debris resulting from collisions planet Haumea is a rare opportunity, this can no longer be performed anywhere in the Solar System.

Study fragments and their distribution will not only shed light on the clash that broke Haumea, but might help scientists better understand other similar collisions like the one that led to Moon from Earth primordial creation event whose traces are long lost.

In situations like that, the pieces disappear altogether, which makes Haumea to be the best bet in understanding other cosmic snap. These "large ice cubes," as Brown describes it, fail, moreover, to deny a notion considered in the past about the nature of the Kuiper Belt. Astronomers had thought that the dust in this region would include anything and would mask true shape and surface. But these pieces look like "ice cubes beautiful", says Brown. This finding suggests that when surfaces are observed Kuiper belt objects, astronomers can assume without fear of areas of the objects themselves and not dust. Regarding why not dust covered ice cubes, both Brown and his colleagues claim that abstaining would know.

And many mysteries

Despite recent findings, issues remain mysterious enough in terms of Haumea. Form, for example, is not known exactly, nor about its internal structure is not known anything definite. Astronomers know that has a rocky core, but are unsure whether or not and that core has a metal interior. A method of setting this study could be caused by eclipses of its satellites pa Haumea, an iron core would cause some changes during this eclipse is due to its greater attraction.

Brown and his colleagues plan to observe these phenomena with telescopes on Earth in the coming years. This activity will help the experts to estimate with greater precision and mass planet. A special observation will be made ​​using the Hubble Space Telescope renewing in just a few weeks from now. Hubble will follow an occultation of the two satellites of Haumea, an event that happens once in 300 years.

When passing right through the other one of the satellites are known to last about five hours. With Hubble's precise observation, the overlap will be surprised with an accuracy of a few seconds. This will tell researchers exactly where on the orbit of Haumea is the two satellites. Such observations can not be achieved with other Kuiper Belt objects - Haumea is a special case, is one that allows such monitoring.

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