For the first time, the discovery of chemical compounds containing oxygen on the borders of our solar system For the first time, the discovery of chemical compounds containing oxygen on the borders of our solar system

For the first time, the discovery of chemical compounds containing oxygen on the borders of our solar system

For the first time, the discovery of chemical compounds containing oxygen on the borders of our solar system
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For the first time, astronomers have been able to detect carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide at the far reaches of our solar system.

The observation was made possible using the infrared spectroscopic capabilities of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

Scientists analyzed the chemical composition of 59 trans-Neptunian objects (TNO), which are small planetary bodies whose orbits lie outside the orbit of Neptune and are located in the Kuiper Belt.

They found that carbon dioxide (a chemical compound of oxygen and carbon) was abundant in the cold outer regions of the protoplanetary disk, the huge rotating disk of gas and dust from which the solar system formed.

The research team was led by planetary scientists Mario Nascimento de Pra and Noemi Pinilla Alonso of the Florida Space Institute at the University of Central Florida (FSI).

The discovery expands our understanding of the formation of the solar system

“It's the first time we've observed this region of the spectrum for a large group of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), so everything we saw was exciting and unique,” ​​says De Bra, who co-authored the study. “We did not expect to find carbon dioxide in all “A place in the trans-Neptunian object region, and even less so, carbon monoxide (also called carbon monoxide and containing two different elements, carbon  and oxygen) was present in many trans-Neptunian objects.”

The study could expand our understanding of the formation of our solar system and how celestial bodies migrate.

De Bra stressed that these results could impose important constraints on where these objects formed. He said: “How did they reach the region they currently inhabit, and how did these surfaces develop since the beginning of formation? Since they formed at distances greater than the sun and smaller than the planets, they are "It contains preliminary information about the original composition of the protoplanetary disk."

Discovery of carbon dioxide in 56 Neptunian objects

According to the study, scientists reported detecting carbon dioxide in 56 trans-Neptunian objects (TNO) and carbon monoxide in 28 (plus 6 with questionable detections) of a sample of 59 objects observed using the James Webb Space Telescope.

They found that carbon dioxide was widespread on the surfaces of trans-Neptunian groups, regardless of dynamical class or body size, while carbon monoxide was only detected in objects with high carbon dioxide abundance.

Scientists confirmed that the presence of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in trans-Neptunian objects opens many opportunities for further study and determining the reason for their presence.

“The discovery of carbon dioxide on trans-Neptunian objects was exciting, but even more remarkable were its properties, as the spectroscopic fingerprint of carbon dioxide revealed two distinct surface structures within our sample,” said Penilla Alonso, who also co-authored the study and leads the DiSCo-TNO program.

She stated that in some trans-Neptunian objects, carbon dioxide is mixed with other substances such as methanol, water ice, and silicates. However, in another group, where carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide constitute major surface components, the spectral signature was strikingly unique. "This clear carbon dioxide signature is unlike anything observed on other Solar System bodies or even replicated in laboratory settings."

This discovery changes scientists' understanding of the composition of trans-Neptunian objects and indicates that the processes affecting their surfaces are more complex than they realized.

The study was published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

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