Taiwanese astronomer helps make important discoveries
February 27, 2014, 12:08 am TWN
TAIPEI--A Canadian-Taiwanese program co-sponsored by Taiwan's National Science Council has made discoveries far out in space beyond Neptune that are expected to help solve some of the mysteries of the solar system.
In four years of observation using the Canada-France Hawaii Telescope, the team of scientists discovered a sizeable object in the inner Oort Cloud, in addition to more than 90 smaller ones, said team member Chen Ying-tung, a research assistant of the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics.
The recently discovered object is about 300 kilometers in diameter and is second only to a dwarf planet named Sedna identified in 2003 in the inner Oort Cloud, said Chen.
Based on the newly observed heavenly body, coupled with previous discoveries, scientists now put the number of objects in the inner Oort Cloud at at least 10,000, or 10 times more than previously estimated, he said.
The study can help scientists learn more about the process by which the solar system was formed and specifically how planets such as Saturn, Jupiter and Neptune came into existence, said Chen.
It can also help shed light on the origins and the evolution of planets beyond the solar system, he added.