Wed, Aug 16, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take: Team spots space rocks


Tiny Kuiper Belt objects, rocks of 100m or less in diameter, have been spotted for the first time by an astronomical research team at National Tsing-hua University, according to the university. The team, organized by professor Chang Hsiang-kuang (張祥光), proved the existence of the objects by analyzing the time "bins" -- the duration of occultations -- in X-rays emitted by the star Scorpius X-1. Their findings have been published in the Aug. 10 edition of the scientific journal Nature. Astronomers have long suggested that there should be billions of Kuiper Belt objects beyond the planet Neptune, which are sometimes referred to as "trans-neptunian objects." However, owing to the limits in visible light observation, objects with diameters of less than 1,000m had never been discovered.

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