Sedna's full orbit is illustrated in the third panel along with the object's location in 2004, nearing its closest approach to the Sun. The final panel zooms out much farther, showing that even this large elliptical orbit falls inside what was previously thought to be the inner edge of the spherical Oort cloud: a distribution of cold, icy bodies lying at the limits of the Sun's gravitational pull. The elliptical orbit of Sedna is unlike anything previously seen by astronomers. It resembles the orbits of objects predicted to lie in the hypothetical Oort cloud-a distant reservoir of comets. But Sedna is 10 times closer than the predicted distance of the Oort cloud.
Original file (SVG file, nominally 2,499 × 2,499 pixels, file size: 699 KB)
These four panels show the location of trans-Neptunian object90377 Sedna, which lies in the farthest reaches of the Solar System. Each panel, moving clockwise from the upper left, successively zooms out to place Sedna in context.
The first panel shows the orbits of the inner planets and Jupiter; and the asteroid belt.
In the second panel, Sedna is shown well outside the orbits of Neptune and the Kuiper belt objects.
Sedna's full orbit is illustrated in the third panel along with the object's location in 2004, nearing its closest approach to the Sun.The final panel zooms out much farther, showing that even this large elliptical orbit falls inside what was previously thought to be the inner edge of the spherical Oort cloud: a distribution of cold, icy bodies lying at the limits of the Sun's gravitational pull. Sedna's presence suggests that the previously speculated inner disk on the ecliptic does exist.
|Date||March 15, 2004 (original image), August 2006 (SVG conversion)|
|Source||SVG version of Image:Oort cloud Sedna orbit.jpg, which lists the following sources: Splitzer Space Telescope Released Images about Sedna|
(Reusing this file)
|Public domain, see below|
Derivative works of this file:
- ↑Most Distant Object in Solar System Discovered. Press release: Jet Propulsion Laboratory. March 15, 2004.
The original image
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|current||00:53, 2 August 2010||2,499 × 2,499 (699 KB)||Masamunecyrus~commonswiki||Added Neptune (let's try this again)|
|00:52, 2 August 2010||2,499 × 2,499 (703 KB)||Masamunecyrus~commonswiki||Reverted to version as of 13:35, 26 August 2006|
|00:29, 2 August 2010||2,499 × 2,499 (705 KB)||Masamunecyrus~commonswiki||Added Neptune|
|13:35, 26 August 2006||2,499 × 2,499 (703 KB)||Holek||smaller file|
|15:19, 21 August 2006||2,499 × 2,499 (2.19 MB)||Holek||SVG version of Image:Oort_cloud_Sedna_orbit.jpg. [Category:Sedna]]|
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Officially known as 2003 VB12, this object is the most distant body known that orbits our Sun. It is at present over 90 AUs away, 3 times as far as Pluto.
90377 Sedna Orbit
Sedna is about 1800 km in diameter, slightly smaller than Pluto.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Sedna is its orbit. Though it is not yet known to high precision it is clear that Sedna’s orbit is highly elliptical with a perihelion of about 75 AU and an orbital period of about 10500 years. This puts it well beyond the Kuiper Belt and yet well inside what was thought to be the inner edge of the Oort Cloud.
Sedna’s physical composition is a bit of a mystery. You would expect it to be mostly ices but apparently that’s not the case. About all that’s known at this time is that it is very red and that water and methane ices seem to be absent on the surface.
Does Sedna Orbit The Sun
Sedna is definitely not the “Planet X” that many astronomers anticipated before the discovery of Pluto. Planet X was supposed to be a much larger object.
Sedna is not even officially a planet at all. That classification decision is up to the IAU and they are not likely to decide to do so.
More about Sedna
- Sedna (2003 VB12), by Dr. Mike Brown, one of Sedna’s discoverers.
- Most Distant Object, by the Spitzer Space Telescope team.
- press release from NASA
Dwarf Planet Sedna Orbit
- Is this really the first of a whole class of “inner Oort Cloud” objects?
- How many more such objects are there? Are there any much larger?