Upcoming: A 'Surprise Discovery' In The Solar System
    By News Staff | March 25th 2014 08:59 AM | 16 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    An international team of astronomers, led by Felipe Braga-Ribas (Observatório Nacional/MCTI, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), has used telescopes at seven locations in South America, including the 1.54-meter Danish and TRAPPIST telescopes at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile, to make a surprise discovery in the outer Solar System.

    The La Silla Observatory is located at the outskirts of the Chilean Atacama Desert, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile and at an altitude of 2400 metres. Like other observatories in this geographical area, La Silla is located far from sources of light pollution and, like the Paranal Observatory, home to the Very Large Telescope, it has one of the darkest night skies on the Earth. La Silla has been in operation since the 1960s. The infrastructure of La Silla is also used by many of the ESO Member States for targeted projects such as the Swiss 1.2-meter Leonhard Euler Telescope, the Rapid Eye Mount telescope (REM) and the TAROT Telescope gamma-ray burst chaser, as well as more common user facilities such as the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter and the Danish 1.54-meter telescopes. The 67-million pixel Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter Telescope has taken many amazing images of celestial objects, some of which have now become icons in their own right.

    La Silla at night. Credit: ESO

    The conference will be held on March 26th 2014 at 14:30 local time (BRT) and will take place in Portuguese with a summary in English.

    The conference presenters are:

    Felipe Braga-Ribas, Observatório Nacional/MCTI, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Bruno Sicardy, LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, Paris, France
    Prof. Roberto Martins, Observatório Nacional/MCTI, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Prof. Julio Camargo, Observatório Nacional/MCTI, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Where: The event takes place in Observatório Nacional, Auditório do Grupo de Pesquisas em Astronomia (GPA), in the GPA/LINEA Building in Rua General José Cristino, 77, Bairro de São Cristovão, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20921-400, Brazil.

    This unexpected result raises several unanswered questions and is expected to provoke much debate.


    Sorry, what was the "Surprise Discovery"?
    Is it so much of a surprise that no one seems to know what it is?

    "Upcoming" means it is under embargo, in this case until tomorrow.
    I hate the embargo thing, but after the fiasco of the Cold Fusion announcement in the 80s, I can *QUITE* understand why they do it!

    I bet you they found the Malaysian Airline flight 370!!!!!!!

    These things are more disappointing then the release of "iphone 4"...And did anyone ever see Contact with Jodie Foster??? it was just her stupid dad aaarargghhhh!!!

    maybe frozen water on one of the outer planets or their moons?

    Based on the past research done by Felipe Braga-Ribas in the field of searching for transneptunian objects, it appears likely that the team has discovered an object or objects in the outer solar system. I would assume it is either a new planet, a comet or asteroid. Perhaps it could be a brown dwarf just outside the solar system, which might explain why comets are thrown into the inner solar system from the Oort Cloud.

    I know the answer and you are good at this!
    It is about an asteroid with rings

    E.C. guessed unknown planets, comets, asteroids and even a brown dwarf(!).
    How can you say he's good at guessing if you knew that the correct answer is an asteroid with rings? Because all the things he guessed at are object that are commonly found in space - as opposed to, say, in your bath tub?

    The guy knew who the researcher was and what his past works were. How many people could do that? He made a solid deduction.
    Anyone who read yesterday's press conference announcement would know Mr Braga-Ribas' name.
    A quick google search would fill in his usual field of research.

    E.C. even managed to guess they would have found a brown dwarf - when WISE has shown that the closest one is over 6 light years away!
    A 0 for 4 record is hardly the sign of someone being good at something.

    Unlike the vast majority of people who comment on news article's these days, I like to inform myself on the topic before I offer up an opinion. In this case, I did my research and offered up an educated guess. I had no inside information on the announcement. I would say that my educated guess that it would be "it appears likely that the team has discovered an object or objects in the outer solar system" proved to be accurate. Also, today they announced a new dwarf planet 2012 VP113. They also said that based on this new dwarf planet odd orbit, there's some indications of a much larger planet in the outer solar system which has affected it's orbit. So perhaps I was not so far off on my educated guesses.

    I have no particular problem with your guesses, apart from the brown dwarf one. But they proved to be inaccurate since the discovery wasn't an object in the outer solar system. Asteroid Chariklo has been known since 1997.

    2012 VP113 is an entirely different discovery, not made by Mr Braga-Ribas Based on its orbit there MIGHT be a larger object affecting it, or there might just as well not be.