Astronomers have made numerous discoveries of mysterious objects in the region beyond the Kuiper Belt at the outskirts of the Solar System.
According to the Science magazine, the leading hypothesis suggests the existence of a “second Kuiper Belt” lurking beyond the known belt, with an equivalent mass. This implies that the influence of the Sun extends farther into space than we previously thought.
A mysterious ring of objects has just been unveiled through the New Horizons expedition – Image: NASA.
Beyond Neptune, located 30 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun (1 AU equals the distance between the Sun and Earth), our Sun’s reach extends an additional 100 astronomical units, capturing small objects orbiting it and potentially even a “Ninth Planet.”
Beyond the solar system’s periphery, there is the Oort Cloud, brimming with comets and dwarf planets, loosely held, stretching all the way to the region about 1,000 AU from the Sun.
This mysterious ring may lie somewhere between the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud. Traces of it were unveiled through the observation of 12 potentially massive objects, located up to 60 AU from the Sun, recorded by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft.
The New Horizons spacecraft, originally on a mission to explore Pluto, is currently positioned at a distance of 57 AU from the Sun.
Presented at the 54th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, the research team led by Dr. Wesley Fraser from the National Research Council of Canada stated that they were not surprised by this discovery.
They noted that our Solar System remains relatively diminutive compared to known star systems, at least concerning the objects and object clusters that we are aware of.