View Full Version : Buffy the Kuiper Belt Object

2005-Dec-14, 08:53 PM
SUMMARY: An international team of astronomers have discovered a new large object in the Kuiper Belt; a region of the Solar System beyond the orbit of Neptune. The object's official designation is 2004 XR 190, but the discoverers are calling it "Buffy" for now. Buffy is approximately half the size of Pluto, and orbits the Sun roughly double the distance of Neptune. Although there are larger objects in the Kuiper Belt, Buffy has one of the most unusual orbits: 47-degrees off the plane of the ecliptic, where the other planets orbit.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/unusual_kuiper_object.html)
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2005-Dec-15, 03:21 AM
This is yet another very exciting find from the outer reaches of the solar system. The most interesting thing about this is that it hints of many more objects yet to be found at highly inclined orbits. There has been alot of plausible speculation that such objects were there, now already someone has found a pretty big one. Unless you believe that this was sheer luck, it is likely that there are alot more out there, especially considering nobody thought to look for them before. This one just happened to be crossing the equatorial plane of the solar system when it was detected.
As far as how it got there, I strongly believe that it migrated there after interacting with Neptune and possibly Uranus. I would not put much stock in theories about passing stars, since there would likely be alot of other disturbances by such an event that we do not see any evidence for.
I do wish that they had come up with a better name than Buffy, but I suppose that it is in line with calling another KBO "Xena."

2005-Dec-26, 12:29 AM

far out in the outscirts of the solar system, the bodies which exist there move slowly, as their distance from the sun is very large, and the gravity of the sun is inversely proportional to the square of the distance.
If bodies move slowly in almost the same direction, the gravity which acts between these two bodies will gradually change their path with time, if they are close enough one to the other. And there is plenty of time to do that.
As a result, one body will gradually be shifted to a greater distance from the sun, while the other may be gradually be moving more towards the sun. So the orbits are changed.
No star passing by is required to change the orbit of a remote body.