At the edge of the Solar System
Understanding the nature of the transneptunian objects represents the last frontier of planetary science — and not simply because we are dealing with celestial bodies orbiting at the edge of the Solar System. New surprising discoveries are continuously posing stimulating questions for celestial mechanics: the dynamics of unusual binary systems and of resonant large-sized bodies, their role as parent bodies of most short-period comets. In the ten years since the discovery of the first TNO, the population has grown sufficiently to allow preliminary characterisation from a dynamical point of view. Yet the feeling is that we are only at the beginning of a long path that will eventually lead to bridging the gap between the last of the planets and the distant Oort Cloud.
KeywordsSolar System Celestial Body Asteroid Belt Kuiper Belt Oort Cloud
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