Pluto may not be a planet anymore, but the dwarf planet and its icy neighbors in the Kuiper Belt are about to enter the spotlight.
one of James Webb Space TelescopeOur first assignment this year will be a study program Pluto And some thousands of other celestial bodies in the Kuiper Belt, one of our regions Solar System outside the orbit of Neptune. These corpses, known as kuiper belt Trans-Neptune objects or objects show remarkable diversity in terms of colour, shape, size, groupings (groups, pairs, etc.), geological and atmospheric activity. While several spacecraft, including NASA, new Horizons Mission, they crossed these corpses, and they were only able to observe them for a brief period. Using Webb’s sensitive infrared cameras, scientists will be able to study objects over a longer period.
“Using Webb, we will be able to get information about surface chemistry that may be able to give us some clues as to why these different populations are in the Kuiper Belt,” Heidi Hamill, Webb Interdisciplinary Solar System Observation Scientist, said. He said in a statement.
Beyond that, scientists hope to analyze the data to learn about the formative years of the solar system. “These are things that are in the Solar System’s formation cemetery,” said Jonathan Lunin, an astronomer at Cornell University and an interdisciplinary web scientist. He noted that these things likely have been around for billions of years and could persist for billions more.
Webb will also study objects known as centaurs, which are former Kuiper Belt objects whose orbits have changed so that they are pulled close to the sun, settling somewhere in between. Jupiter And the Neptune. One of these bodies is Neptune’s moon Triton. “Although it is a moon of Neptune, we have evidence to suggest that it was a Kuiper belt object that came very close to Neptune at some time in the past, and was captured in orbit around Neptune,” Hamill said.
James Webb Space Telescope Launched December 2021 It is expected to become fully operational this summer.
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