The Oort Cloud is thought by scientists to be farther away than anything else from the entire Solar System. The name “2014 UN271” may not mean anything for most people, but according to the astronomers Gary Bernstein and Pedro Bernardinelli, it’s the name of the newfound space object that has an orbit around our Sun and even stretches into the Oort Cloud.
The news comes from Phys.org, and the newfound object has a diameter of only 100 to 370 kilometres across. This means practically the size of a comet, and the researchers involved have made the discovery after studying images collected from 2014 to 2018.
The closest approach to Earth will occur in ten years
The mysterious object will make its closest approach to our planet in 2031, as this is the conclusion after tracking done by the Minor Planet Center, the MMPL forum, and JPL Solar System Dynamics.
The path of the 2014 UN271 object defies expectations, as its orbit is unique and puzzling.
The object showed no coma in any of the (5 band) DES images between 2014-2018 (when it moved from 29 to 23 au). The residuals of a scene-modeling photometry of this objects shows consistency with noise (both in each image and in a stack of all 30 something images we have) pic.twitter.com/7JIibMPyZS
— Dr. Pedro Bernardinelli (@phbernardinelli) June 20, 2021
Samantha Lawler, who’s an astronomer from the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada, declared as cited by Gizmodo:
There’s a lot of uncertainty in how far away this object will get from the Sun at its most distant, but the close-approach distance is quite well measured,
This is because we’re seeing it a lot closer to its closest approach than at its most distant point, and it’s very weakly bound to the Sun because of its huge orbit, so small changes in close approach result in huge changes in the most distant point in the orbit.
Plenty of scientists believe that the Oort cloud defines the boundary of our Solar System. Long-period comets may have originated in the cloud, and oddly enough, the huge structure even contains materials that belong from other stars. Another outstanding fact is that the Oort cloud is only about 5 times more massive than Earth.
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