The asteroid scientists at the Institute of Earth Sciences and Micro Sciences at the State University of São Paulo have identified 19 space rocks “of interstellar origin” of the Centaur type, which are the bodies of the outer solar system orbiting Jupiter and Neptune.
“The solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago in a star nest, with its systems of planets and asteroids. The stars were close enough to each other to promote the strong gravitational interactions that led to the exchange of materials between systems,” said Maria Helena Moreira Moraes, one of the co-authors. .
“Therefore, some of the objects currently in the solar system must have formed around other stars. Until recently, we could not distinguish between captured interstellar objects and objects that were formed locally around the sun.”
The identification of space objects around the solar system occurred for the first time by asteroids at the Institute of Earth Sciences and Micro Sciences at the State University of São Paulo in 2018.
Professor Morais first referred to it as the asteroid 514107 Ka’epaoka’awela.
“Ka’epaoka’awela” is translated into Arabic as “the annoying comrade opposite the direction of Jupiter”.
The space rock occupied the path opposite Jupiter’s orbit for at least 4.5 billion years, but it revolves around the sun in the opposite direction to the planets.
“When we identified it as something that came from outside the solar system, we did not know whether it was an isolated state or part of a large number of migratory asteroids. In this latest study, we identified 19 vials of interstellar origin,” said Professor Morais.
The 19 kantars identified in the study contain heavily inclined orbits in relation to the orbital plane of the planets.
“To investigate the origin of these objects, we built a computer simulation that works like a time machine and turns its tracks back by 4.5 billion years. The simulation enabled us to know where these objects were at that time,” Professor Morais added.
The planets and asteroids that arose in the Solar System emerged from a thin disk of gas and dust that once orbited the Sun. For this reason, they all moved on the disk 4.5 billion years ago.
If centaurs originate in the solar system, they must have also moved at the level of the disk at that time.
However, Professor Moraes explained: “Our simulations showed that 4.5 billion years ago, these objects revolve around the sun in perpendicular orbits at the disk level. In addition, they did this in a region far from the gravitational effects of the original disc.”
These two results showed that the centaur asteroids do not originally belong to the solar system and must have been captured from nearby stars during the period of formation of the planet.