Astronomers have discovered a relatively large space object orbiting the Sun in an orbit close to the orbit of Neptune, reports BBC News. He was found in the space surveillance, which is carried out in order to detect asteroids that pose a threat to Earth. This project is called Neat (Near Earth Asteroid Tracking) is carried out using a telescope at Mount Palomar in California.
Scientists have observed this object with a diameter of 570 km in diameter in the photos of the sky taken in 1998. It is located in the so-called Kuiper belt (Kuiper Belt) — near the solar system beyond the orbit of Neptune, dotted with small rocks and ice floes.
The new facility is located on the so-called resonant orbit in relation to Neptune. This means that it is wrapped twice around the sun, while Neptune «slices» three circle. On a similar orbit of Pluto is so found the object that has the official name of 2003 VS2, also called «Plutinos», «Plutonchik» or «little Pluto.»
«Plutonchik», like his brothers in the Kuiper belt, composed of a mixture of ice and rock. He is one of the largest facilities in the «zone.» As leaders, as noted NTR.ru, remains a «double planet» — Pluto 2390 km in diameter and its moon Charon diameter of 1,186 km. Then follow the recently discovered Quaoar (Quaoar) — 1,300 km, Varuna (Varuna) and 2002 AW197 — almost 900 km. According to astronomers, in the Kuiper belt around 70,000 objects with a diameter greater than 100 km. Over the past 10 years has opened more than 500 trans-Neptunian bodies. Their period of revolution around the Sun (as close to a circular orbit) is 260-320 years.