Object Confirms Large Reservoir of Trans-Neptunian Objects
TNRTB Archive – Retained for reference information
The discovery of a peculiar Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) diminishes a common argument used by young-earth creationists (YECs). YECs argue that the solar system must be less than a few tens of thousands of years old, or all the short-period comets would have evaporated. Traditionally, astronomers have postulated a group of small cometary and asteroidal bodies beyond Neptune, called the Kuiper Belt, that orbit the sun as a supplier of these short-period comets. A team of astronomers recently discovered a KBO on a nearly circular orbit at a large distance from the sun, but with an orbit highly inclined to the plane of the solar system. The existence of this object points to a large, as-yet-undiscovered population of objects well beyond the orbit of Neptune having highly inclined trajectories. If this large reservoir exists, it would easily resupply the short-period comets, thereby removing a common YEC objection to an ancient universe.
- R. L. Allen et al., “Discovery of a Low-Eccentricity, High-Inclination Kuiper Belt Object at 58 AU,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 640 (2006): L83-86.
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