Scientists Find Tiny Body At Solar System's Edge

Scientists find tiny body at Solar System's edge

Japanese astronomers say they have spotted a small celestial body at the far edge of the Solar System.

Scientists from the National Astronomical Observatory, Kyoto University and others say the body is 2.6 kilometers in diameter.

Astronomers have long predicted the existence of small bodies beyond the orbit of Neptune.

But they have not succeeded in detecting them because objects with diameters of 20 kilometers or less are too dim to observe even with the most advanced telescopes.

The group devised a unique way to locate such objects by using two small, commercially available telescopes and video cameras. They say the development of the system cost only about 32,000 dollars.

They focused on the idea that light from distant stars is obstructed when other objects pass in front of them. They monitored about 2,000 stars for 60 hours to locate the newly discovered body.

They say their simulation data suggest that more than two billion bodies smaller than 20 kilometers exist in the zone.

These objects are thought to be the remnants of the formation of planets.

The scientists say their small project has produced great results that even well-funded ones have not been able to achieve and that they want to improve their method to find even more distant bodies.