The researcher's community believed that the asteroid was formed in the asteroid belt.
With all this information, the research team concluded that 2004 EW95 probably formed between Mars and Jupiter, and was dragged along as the gas giants moved to their current orbits, thus offering important information about the dynamics of the early solar system. Since objects high in carbon aren't common out in the Kuiper Belt - an icy region past Neptune - verifying their distant existence could further support the current formation theory.
An asteroid ejected from our infant Solar System found refuge billions of kilometres away, beyond the orbit of Neptune, where it has now been spotted, astronomers said on Wednesday.
However, even with the impressive light-collecting power of the VLT, 2004 EW95 was still hard to observe. The core idea is that after its chaotic beginnings, the gas giants brought further turmoil as they migrated inwards towards the Sun and then outward, disrupting and scattering objects as they traipsed through the Solar System.
Tom Seccull, from Queen's University Belfast in the United Kingdom, and colleagues found that an unusual object at the Kuiper Belt, a region at the edge of the Solar System and beyond the orbit of planet Neptune, is a carbon-rich asteroid. The remarkable discovery of carbon-rich asteroid was made by the European Southern Observatory (ESO). In particular, these models suggest that the Kuiper Belt - a cold region beyond the orbit of Neptune - should contain a small fraction of rocky bodies from the inner Solar System, such as carbon-rich asteroids, referred to as carbonaceous asteroids .
"Not only is 2004 EW95 moving, it's also very faint", adds lead author Tom Seccull of Queen's University Belfast.
"It's like observing a giant mountain of coal against the pitch black canvas of the night sky", said Professor Thomas Puzia from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, who co-authored the study. Nevertheless, researchers were able to identify two features from the object's spectra that corresponded to the presence of ferric oxides and phyllosilicates.
Some theories point to the behavior of gas giants like Saturn and Jupiter during the early stages of the Solar System's formation. "The discovery of a carbonaceous asteroid in the Kuiper Belt is a key verification of one of the fundamental predictions of dynamical models of the early Solar System". Carbonaceous or C-type asteroids are the most common type of asteroid - Bennu, the target asteroid for NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission is one, but like most of this type they typically orbit a lot closer to the Sun.
A fragment from the early days of our solar system has been discovered 4 billion kilometres from Earth. But they started their outwards migration not long after the solar system was formed, and as they did so, they created all sorts of chaos.
These minerals suggest that the object formed under conditions similar to those that formed numerous carbonaceous asteroids closer to Earth.
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