‘Unexpected’ space traveler defies theories about origin of solar system

Solar system cartoon [NASA]

The theorised Oort Cloud in the outer solar system seems not to consist entirely of what was theorised to be there. This is described by one researcher as ‘a complete game changer’.
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Researchers from Western have shown that a fireball that originated at the edge of the solar system was likely made of rock, not ice, challenging long-held beliefs about how the solar system was formed, says Phys.org.

Just at the edge of our solar system and halfway to the nearest stars is a collection of icy objects sailing through space, known as the Oort Cloud.

Passing stars sometimes nudge these icy travelers towards the sun, and we see them as comets with long tails.

Scientists have yet to observe any objects in the Oort Cloud directly, but everything detected so far coming from its direction has been made of ice.

Theoretically, the very basis of understanding our solar system’s beginnings is built upon the foundation that only icy objects exist in these outer reaches and certainly, nothing made of rock.

This changed last year when an international team of scientists, stargazers, and professional and amateur astronomers led by Western meteor physicists captured images and videos of a rocky meteoroid that flew through the skies over central Alberta as a dazzling fireball.

The researchers have since concluded all signs point to the object’s origin being smack dab in the middle of the Oort Cloud.

The findings were published in Nature Astronomy.

“This discovery supports an entirely different model of the formation of the solar system, one which backs the idea that significant amounts of rocky material co-exist with icy objects within the Oort cloud,” said Denis Vida, a Western meteor physics postdoctoral researcher.

“This result is not explained by the currently favored solar system formation models. It’s a complete game changer.”

Full article here.
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Study: Direct measurement of decimetre-sized rocky material in the Oort cloud

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

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December 19, 2022 at 07:16AM

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