The orbits of the new extreme dwarf planet, 2015 TG387, and its fellow Inner Oort Cloud objects, 2012 VP113 and Sedna, as compared with the rest of the Solar System. 2015 TG387 was nicknamed “The Goblin” by the discoverers, as its provisional designation contains TG and the object was first seen near Halloween. 2015 TG387 has a larger semi-major axis than either 2012 VP113 or Sedna, which means it travels much further from the Sun at its most distant point in its orbit, which is around 2,300 AU. Illustration by Roberto Molar Candanosa and Scott Sheppard, DTM.
A team led by DTM’s Scott S. Sheppard found twelve new moons orbiting Jupiter, including one “oddball.” The schematic above shows all known 79 Jovian moons, with newly found moons shown in bold. Nine of the new moons are part of a distant outer swarm of moons that orbit in the retrograde, or opposite direction of Jupiter’s spin rotation (shown in red). The “oddball” moon, named Valetudo and shown in green, rotates in the prograde, or same direction as Jupiter. Head-on collisions are much more likely to occur between the Valetudo and the retrogrades, which move in opposite directions. The moons shown in blue also rotate in the prograde, and the group shown in magenta show the famous Galilean moons Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Credit: Roberto Molar Candanosa & Scott Shepard, DTM.
An artist’s conception of a distant Solar System Planet X, which could be shaping the orbits of smaller extremely distant outer Solar System objects like 2015 TG387 discovered by a team of Carnegie’s Scott Sheppard, Northern Arizona University’s Chad Trujillo, and the University of Hawaii’s David Tholen. Illustration by Roberto Molar Candanosa and Scott Sheppard, courtesy of Carnegie Institution for Science.
Schematic of how magnetic minerals (inset) inside rocks are aligned with the ambient geomagnetic field as they solidify. These rocks can preserve the direction and intensity of the geomagnetic field over billions of years if they avoid high temperatures and magnetic contamination. The geomagnetic field fluctuates in geometry and intensity over thousands of years. Such magnetic rocks may cool quickly and preserve the geomagnetic field at an instant in time, or can cool more slowly over thousands of years and preserve a kind of time average of the varying geomagnetic field. Illustration: Roberto Molar Candanosa and Peter Driscoll, DTM.
Illustration of the Epsilon Indi system. The two brown dwarfs orbit their common center of mass, which in turn orbits the much more distant primary component, a Sun-like star. By mapping the orbital motion of the brown dwarfs, the team was able to determine their masses. Much like our Solar System’s giant planets, brown dwarfs are thought to have cloud belts that encircle the entire object and give it a striped appearance. Illustration by Roberto Molar Candanosa and Sergio Dieterich, DTM.
Earth’s magnetic field, generated by the motion of liquid iron deep inside the core, reaches out into space until it is balanced by non-stop flows of Solar charged particles, also known as solar wind. This balance occurs around 35,000 miles above the Earth’s surface (or about 10 times the radius of the Earth). The planet’s magnetic field closely approximates an axial dipole at present, where the magnetic and geographic (rotation) poles are coincident. This is the simple dipole magnetic field oriented along Earth’s rotation axis that we are familiar with today. This magnetism conveniently funnels most of the incoming charged particles into polar regions and sometimes generates visible aurorae. Image: Roberto Molar Candanosa, DTM.