Couple studying Sun probes STEREO mission becomes not a normal area of space. Here they will be able to search for the remains of a hypothetical ancient world, which was the nearest neighbor of the Earth. If this is proved, it is almost certain it will be possible to answer the question of where we have the moon.
"The planet called Theia — says one of the STEREO mission, working with scientists Mike Kaiser (Mike Kaiser), — this hypothesis, we have never seen a credible trace of her, although many researchers believe it existed 4.5 billion years ago and, Faced with the Earth, has led to the orbit of the moon. "
"The hypothesis Teyi" can be called a version of the widespread impact hypothesis today (more on that read: "Celestial"), pursuant to which our natural satellite is the result of a large-scale space accident, which nearly destroyed life on the planet, and its very — Clashes with a body about the size of Mars. The wealth of discarded due to orbit debris (and the Earth, and the hypothetical body), and gradually formed a satellite. However, the purchase was worth the risk, because it made possible the development of the Moon on the Earth of complex life and ours with you the birth (why, we mentioned in the article "An invaluable companion").
"Teyi hypothesis" — the brainchild of the famous German theorists Edward Belbruno (Edward Belbruno) and Richard Gott (Richard Gott). It explains a lot of the features of the Moon, including its size, density and uniform composition. In short, everything is good — but the main thing is not clear. Where did this Theia why collided with the Earth and to disappear?
Belbruno and Gott believe they know the answer, and look for it in a libration point. For a system of two massive bodies libration points — these are the points at which a third body (if its weight in comparison with the two major negligible) always remains stationary relative to them. In honor of the mathematician Joseph Lagrange, first shown to exist in the Sun — Earth five libration points, sometimes called Lagrange points (see illustration at left). These are the "parking space": place the unit into one of the libration points of the Sun — Earth, you can be sure that it will retain its position relative to them unchanged. This, by the way, are going to use and astronomers — we talked about their plans to install one of the Lagrange points telescope three times larger than even the Hubble («big mirror").
So, it is believed that during adolescence the solar system Lagrange points were not as deserted as it is today, and there were quite a densely populated "planetesimals" — direct embryos and "building blocks" of future planets. By assumption Belbruno and Gott, one of the points (L4 or L5) and planetesimals formed Teyyu.
They built a computer model shows that, being here, Theia could grow quite large: the balance of gravitational forces can accumulate over time at L4 and L5 fair amount of substance. "Later, — said Mike Kaiser, — the growing influence of other planets growing Teyyu pushed from the Lagrange point and complex spiral trajectory sent it to a collision with the Earth."
So, if all these assumptions are correct, then look for the very Teyyu useless: it shattered into dust billions of years ago. However, some of the ancient planetesimals, which were then at L4 or L5 and did not have time to join the Teye can stay there ever since, becoming asteroids. Find them — means giving serious trump card in the hands Belbruno and Gott, and their supporters. "STEREO devices just go into these areas of space — continues Kaiser — and get a great chance to find asteroids Teyi peers." We'll call them "teyasteroidami."
Astronomers have tried to find them using conventional ground-based telescopes, but to no avail. However, it can still be about anything and do not say these methods at a distance you can see objects more than a kilometer in diameter. STEREO also make out and much finer detail. Caught directly in points L4 and L5, the probes will be in an ideal situation to watch.
"In fact — says Mike Kaiser, — search began in the last month. Both devices have been deployed on 180 degrees to make a series of observations of the region near the L4/L5 from afar, as a whole. These pictures could see the known asteroids, and the Japanese amateur astronomer discovered a new comet Itagaki. And no "teyasteroidov. '"
"We can not find anything — continues scientist — but if it is shown that in the vicinity of L4 and L5 have a lot of asteroids, it will think about sending a special mission there for detailed study. If the composition of these asteroids will be similar to that of the Earth and the Moon, it will be a serious argument in favor of the version of the hypothesis clashes expressed Belbruno and Gotts. "
However, before that far away. Even on the first phase — the probe STEREO — will take several months. Lagrange point — this is not a small point, but a rather large areas of up to 50 million km across. STEREO AND still have the farthest edges of these areas, and to the very center of their suit only in September and October. Work to be done.
But astronomers can help you are. Yes, yes: STEREO team asks for support from enthusiasts around the world. In short, the problem is that on the pictures sent probes to find bright spot that would move relative to the fixed stars in the background. If you succeed — you may find "teyasteroid." Look here for further instructions.
According to NASA
Category: Astronomy and Space