Studying The Expansive Solar System

October 4, 2010 at 9:54 PM (Uncategorized)

I have the fortune of taking an astronomy course this semester, which is boosting my intrigue for all that is being learned about our known universe.  Right now, I have my television on The History Channel.  I am watching a program that I likely have viewed before, yet not in it’s entirety.

Actually, I am sure that I have seen the program before.  Yet, it is very interesting.  I am learning/understanding more details of the program, having seen it already, and having researched information on the topic while online.  The show is The Universe, and this particular episode is “Cosmic Collisions”.

It is delving into the identification of random chuncks of rock, ice, asteroids, and meteors that are hurtling through space.  Many of these items are speeding through our solar system, as some of them have made collisions with our planets, and others may impact one of us at some later point.

Astronomers are spending significant amounts of time, studying these objects.  There is a significant study of The Kuiper Belt, the area of rouge asteroids, along with chunks of ice and rock, that exist beyond Pluto.  Scientists are speculating that The Kuiper Belt is a major source of breakaway asteroids that wind up zooming through the solar system, then slamming into one of the planets.

I did some reading, earlier, about the recently-discovered, distant objects, that are being labeled as Plutoids.  These items orbit our Sun, yet at an extreme distance that is beyond the now-dismissed planet.  Apparently, there are several of these chunks of ice and rock which are significantly large enough to have gained actual designations.

Along with Pluto, several other celestial objects within our solar system that exist beyond the former ninth planet have been named.  Many of them are being called Plutoids, or Trans-Neptunian Objects.  These include Ceres, Eris, HaumeaQuaoarSedna, and MakemakeThe International Astonomical Union has been working diligently to identify these items that still are orbiting The Sun, yet at such extreme distances.

Once again, I am fascinated by all that is being discovered and identified within our known universe.  Our solar system alone has so much to be studied, and so much that seems yet to be recognized.  I am listening, hearing that Haumea is under speculation as being a mere asteroid, instead of an actual Kuiper Belt Object – Plutoid, or whatever it has been labeled at the moment.

The program is interesting.  Yet, each time that it is on, I get wrapped up with the computer.  I think that it will be on again, later, so I will record it…..


asteroid.gif (49781 bytes)   File:Classical Kepler orbit e0.6 light.gif

asteroid.gif (49781 bytes)




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