Saturday, April 10, 2010

Startling new astronomical discoveries are expected

Now about half way through its all sky survey is the WISE infrared telescope. It has already discovered near Earth asteroids that were otherwise difficult to discover because of their individual dark nature. Many more asteroid discoveries are expected when the project is complete.

Even more interesting are possible unknown planets, stars, or even black holes in the vicinity of our solar system. The planets might include some much closer than the nearest star, the Alpha Centauri triple system only 4.3 light years away, but well beyond Sedna and other recent discoveries of the Outer solar system. It has long been expected that a massive planet might be out there that is the cause of disturbing comet orbits. Long term 25 million year periods between catastrophes have been noted from the Earth's geological record of meteor hits, and that surmised, so far undiscovered, planet in a similar period orbit might be the cause. Its discovery would be a breakthrough. Some have called it "Nemesis" (if it exists).

Equally interesting, there could be a so called "brown dwarf" star out there doing the same thing. A brown dwarf was recently discovered only 10 light years distant.

We should start hearing news of all this from the WISE observations in less than a year or so.

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