Oort Cloud: What is the secret of ice clouds around the solar system?
If you were looking for a clear night sky during the first few weeks of summer 2020, there is a strong possibility that you must have seen a new guest in some part of our solar system.
If viewed through a telescope, it will look like a comet or a comet. A bright nucleus and a long tail on which ice was frozen and which was dissolved in gas by the heat of the sun. In early July, it could be seen in the northern hemisphere without binoculars.
But then it disappeared. No one has ever seen the comet, which has been dubbed the C / 2020F3 (Newwise), and no one will ever see it again. Neither their children, nor their many generations and their children’s children will be able to see it. Because this comet will not be visible until six thousand eight hundred years ago.
It was a short flight but also more remarkable and that is because many comets appear in the sky many times in our lives. The C / 2020F3 (Newwise) appears to have come from one of the least discovered and most mysterious parts of our solar system, the vast, frozen Earth Cloud. It has been discovered in a remote part of the solar system. Far away from the giant planets of gas and gas, far from the icy worlds of Uranus and Neptune, far from the distant orbits of Pluto. This protective layer of plasma particles from the sun is also outside the outer edge of the heliosphere. This is where our solar system ends and interstellar space begins.
Like a huge shell, the Ort Cloud surrounds our solar system. Not only in the line where planets, asteroids and dwarf planets are found, but it is present in every direction. The only problem is that we are not entirely sure whether this giant icy dome actually exists there or not. Astronomers have never seen the Ort Cloud directly and so far man has been sent the farthest. The Voyager 1 spacecraft will not be able to reach there for the next 300 years. But new research and upcoming space missions are now uncovering some of its secrets. The arrival of distant comets like the C / 2020F3 (Newwise) is also giving some clues.
The Ort Cloud was first predicted in 1950 by John Ort, explaining the existence of comets such as Newwise.
Short-term comets, which usually take less than 200 years to orbit the Sun and come from an ice disk called the Kuiper Belt outside of Neptune, are easier to predict than their origin. Peripheral comets that take between 200 and 1000 years to complete one orbit around the Sun.
The orbits of these long-lived comets are such that they first get very close to the sun and then go very far.
Ort gave a theory that these comets are coming from a distant cluster of rock and ice objects, and that this place is very far from the limits of our solar system.
This shell, or cluster of distant objects, is thought to extend from a distance of about 306 billion kilometers to the sun to 756 billion kilometers.
This is 2,000 to 5,000 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun, 150 million kilometers (one astronomical unit).
According to some estimates, the Oort Cloud extends from 150 trillion km to 290 trillion km in space.
“So far we have no other satisfactory explanation for the continuous arrival of long-term comets,” says Cyril Opitom, who studies comets and solar systems at the University of Edinburgh.
“When we analyze their orbits, it seems that the farthest point of their orbit is found in a region 20,000 times farther away from the sun and the earth, and this is what we call the orbital cloud.”
How this cloud came into being is still a mystery. This could include hundreds of billions or trillions of rocky little planet-like objects like comets that are usually planet-forming objects.
But from a few kilometers to tens of kilometers in size, it is difficult to see these objects directly from Earth even with the help of the most powerful telescopes. Is. Simon Portagez Zwart of the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and his colleagues studied with computer simulations how clouds could have formed in chronological order over a period of more than 10 million years. This is the first study to examine each stage of cloud formation, rather than looking at them separately.
“The results show that the clouds did not form in a simple way, but in a way under a conspiracy of nature, where a number of factors have to be followed,” says Portugese Zwart. According to him, planets, stars and the Milky Way (galaxy) all had a role in this. “The complexity of the process took me by surprise.”
But the results mean that it is unlikely that our solar system alone will be affected by this vast, icy cloud. “Once we have mapped out the various factors, we know that they are a natural consequence of the evolution of the solar system,” says Portuguese Zevart.
His work also makes predictions about what might happen in the cloud. If their predictions come true, then in the cloud.
Research from November 2020 has shown that interstellar objects could be much larger than our own solar system. Another study, which released its preliminary results earlier this year, identified three stars that may have passed through the cloud.
How much orbiting cloud actually comes from other stars is a mystery, and even a close study of comets cannot answer it. “It would be very difficult to know which comets were not born here, but there may be some real-time interstellar comets in the future,” said Kate Wolk, a geologist at the University of Arizona. To be able to shed light. ‘
The results of the Portuguese Zwart and his team show that about half of the contents of the cloud and about a quarter of its outer parts have been acquired from elsewhere.
Understanding the Ort Cloud and the comets coming from within it may give us some important clues about the origin of our solar system and its formation. These are just some of the things that are within our reach and in their original state, and are thought to have formed at the same time as the planets.
“It would be great to have some holes drilled inside some of the OrtCloud objects and analyze them,” says Portuguese Zeuart.
But Voyager 1, which was launched more than 40 years ago, is still a long way off and unlikely to make any direct contact with anything out there. It will take longer.
There are four other spacecraft that will eventually reach the Ort Cloud. Voyager 2, New Horizons and Pioneer 10 and 11. “But it will take them so long to get there that they will have run out of energy before they get there,” says Opitom. It’s too far. “
Instead, it will be easier to get some samples from the part of the Ort Cloud that comes to us. Scientists are already trying to understand how these mysterious things came to be by observing comets passing by. Comets are thought to have originated there.
We don’t have to go to see what comets are made of. Preliminary results from some studies have shown that orbital cloud comets contained carbon monoxide, water and other forms of carbon and silicate.
But it is hoped that during the space mission, there will be an opportunity to see one of the in-cloud comets closely.
Spacecraft have come close to comets in space missions such as Europe’s Rosetta Arbitrator and Philae Lander, and NASA’s Deep Impact. Other spacecraft, such as Japan’s Hiabusa and Hiabosa 2 and NASA’s Osiris-Rex missions, have also received samples from the satellites to bring them to Earth.
But this is not so easy for comets coming from the Ort Cloud because they appear a few years before they reach the Sun’s orbit. “This is a very short time to prepare a mission and send it to the comet,” says Opitom.
However, a future mission aims to fly closer to a comet that came directly from the Ort Cloud, not one that has passed through the Sun several times. “Space missions have been developed that can launch and see long-term comets and then wait in a kind of parking orbit until a suitable target is identified,” says Volk. Comet is an interceptor, recently selected by the European Space Agency. It will use a number of spacecraft to select a comet and then study it closely. “It’s a very interesting mission,” says Opitom. And hopefully, for the first time, it will help research an ancient comet coming directly from the Ort Cloud.
Prior to the launch of the Comet Interceptor in 2029, the Vera Rubin Observatory telescope being developed in Chile will begin searching for comets from the Ort Cloud. The observatory will be completed by 2023. “This will help us send missions from orbiting clouds to comets, and that’s what the comet interceptor will do, even if they can’t collect samples together,” says Opitom.
“A closer look at comets will tell us how they change when they get warm as they approach the sun after being frozen for a long time,” says Banster. If they are coming for the first time, they will be bringing many secrets with them. Looking directly at comets in this way can provide answers to questions such as how big the cloud really is, and how much of it came from our solar system.
Although scientists are gathering more information about the Ort Cloud by gathering various clues, and gathering evidence of its existence, we will only know something when one of our spacecraft One will reach this unknown region of space. If Voyager 1 had lived for another 300 years, humanity would have reached a new front.