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New discovery: First asteroid population from outside our solar system

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Ka'epaoka'awela asteroid surprised the world in 2018: It was the first object in the solar system that was demonstrated to be of extrasolar origin. But now, the researchers who discovered it have announced that it is not alone. Published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Societyon 23 April 2020, work by Fathi Namouni, a CNRS researcher in the Laboratoire Lagrange (CNRS/Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur/Université Côte d'Azur), and Helena Morais, researcher at UNESP in Brazil, proves that at least 19 other asteroids orbited another star before joining our solar system.
Illustration of the orbit of a Centaur asteroid 4.5 billion years ago, relative to the protoplanetary disc. The asteroid orbits around the sun far from the disc in a plane perpendicular to it. Credit: NASA

Although some interstellar bodies only pass through, others remain and orbit the sun. This is the case for 19 asteroids that gravitate between Jupiter and Neptune. According to the two scientists' calculations, their current orbits and characteristics can only be explained if these objects were not in our solar system at its birth, 4.5 billion years ago.

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