Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Astronomers Discover "Buffy" in Kuiper Belt

Astronomers have shed more light on the outer edges of our Solar System. Teams working in Canada, France and the U.S. have found a Kuiper Belt Object which moves in an almost circular orbit at a steady 50 AU (astronomical unit) but inclined at a 45 degree angle from everything else.
The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Corporation is a non-profit group that operates a 3.6 meter telescope atop a dormant Hawaiian volcano. They posted the announcement at their Web site earlier today, along with really cool graphics that depict Buffy's orbit in comparison to the rest of the known Solar System. There's even a nice moving telescope image of Buffy as it moves across a portion of the sky.
Why Buffy has such a nearly perfectly circular orbit is just one of the mysteries scientists hope the New Horizon probe will help them solve.

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