We report here the first detection of hectometer-size objects by the method of serendipitous stellar occultation. This method consists of recording the diffraction shadow created when an object crosses the observer's line of sight and occults the disk of a background star. One of our detections is most consistent with an object between Saturn and Uranus. The two other diffraction patterns detected are caused by Kuiper Belt objects beyond 100 AU from the Sun and hence are the farthest known objects in the solar system. These detections show that the Kuiper Belt is much more extended than previously believed and that the outer part of the disk could be composed of smaller objects than the inner part. This gives critical clues to understanding the problem of the formation of the outer planets of the solar system.
Bibliographical noteUnrecognised author: 'plus 16 co-authors'
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Space and Planetary Science
- Astronomy and Astrophysics