Trans-Neptunian Object

Trans-Neptunian Object

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Fast Facts
News release ID: STScI-2010-32
Release Date: Sep 13, 2010
Image Use: Copyright
About this image

This is an artist's concept of a craggy piece of solar system debris that belongs to a class of bodies called trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs). Most TNOs are small and faint, making them difficult to spot. Generally, they are more than 100 million times fainter than objects visible to the unaided eye. The newfound TNOs range from 25 to 60 miles (40-100 km) across. In this illustration, the distant Sun is reduced to a bright star at a distance of over 3 billion miles. Astronomers culling the data archives of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have added 14 new TNOs to the catalog. Their search method promises to turn up hundreds more.


Tags
Hubble Telescope, Illustrations, Small Solar System Bodies, Solar System

Credits

Artwork Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI);
Science Credit: NASA, ESA, and C. Fuentes (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)