A team of astronomers has discovered a surprising exiled asteroid, a carbonaceous asteroid dubbed 2004 EW95, located at the far end of the solar system. This space rock is located in the Kuiper belt, beyond Neptune, and has a composition rich in carbon. The report suggests that the asteroid may have originated in the interior of our solar system, in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and was then expelled billions of miles away.
The discovery of this exiled asteroid supports the idea that the beginnings of the solar system were really turbulent times. According to some hypotheses, once the gas giants were formed, the solar system expelled small rocky bodies from within it into remote orbits at great distances from our Sun, particularly towards the Oort cloud and the Kuiper belt.
If these models are true, a small fraction of the objects in these regions would present carbon or some of the carbon-related compounds, which makes them be carbonaceous asteroids.
Exiled asteroid 2004 EW95 is, therefore, a carbonaceous asteroid
2004 EW95, which is 300 kilometers in size, is 4 billion kilometers from the Earth. Research into this object, made possible by the use of Very Large Telescope (VLT) instruments, has shown that it has a dark, carbon-rich surface.
In other words, the surprising body seems to be a carbonaceous asteroid, according to the observations made, which point to the existence of ferric oxides and phyllosilicates in its chemical composition.
The analysis obtained from 2004 EW95 shows that it is very different from the spectrum of other similar smaller space objects located in the Kuiper belt.
The discovery of a carbonaceous asteroid such as 2004 EW95 is an important verification of the predictions made to date on the evolution of the solar system in its early stages. On the other hand, the Very Large Telescope, located in the Chilean Cerro Paranal region, also allowed the discovery of a cloudless exoplanet.