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      Initial results from the New Horizons exploration of 2014 MU69, a small Kuiper Belt object

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      American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

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          Abstract

          The Kuiper Belt is a distant region of the outer Solar System. On 1 January 2019, the New Horizons spacecraft flew close to (486958) 2014 MU 69, a cold classical Kuiper Belt object approximately 30 kilometers in diameter. Such objects have never been substantially heated by the Sun and are therefore well preserved since their formation. We describe initial results from these encounter observations. MU 69 is a bilobed contact binary with a flattened shape, discrete geological units, and noticeable albedo heterogeneity. However, there is little surface color or compositional heterogeneity. No evidence for satellites, rings or other dust structures, a gas coma, or solar wind interactions was detected. MU 69’s origin appears consistent with pebble cloud collapse followed by a low-velocity merger of its two lobes.

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          Origin of the orbital architecture of the giant planets of the Solar System.

          Planetary formation theories suggest that the giant planets formed on circular and coplanar orbits. The eccentricities of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus, however, reach values of 6 per cent, 9 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively. In addition, the inclinations of the orbital planes of Saturn, Uranus and Neptune take maximum values of approximately 2 degrees with respect to the mean orbital plane of Jupiter. Existing models for the excitation of the eccentricity of extrasolar giant planets have not been successfully applied to the Solar System. Here we show that a planetary system with initial quasi-circular, coplanar orbits would have evolved to the current orbital configuration, provided that Jupiter and Saturn crossed their 1:2 orbital resonance. We show that this resonance crossing could have occurred as the giant planets migrated owing to their interaction with a disk of planetesimals. Our model reproduces all the important characteristics of the giant planets' orbits, namely their final semimajor axes, eccentricities and mutual inclinations.
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            Solar System Dynamics

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              Radiative Spin-up and Spin-down of Small Asteroids

               D Rubincam (2000)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Science
                Science
                American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
                0036-8075
                1095-9203
                May 16 2019
                May 17 2019
                May 16 2019
                May 17 2019
                : 364
                : 6441
                : eaaw9771
                10.1126/science.aaw9771
                © 2019

                http://www.sciencemag.org/about/science-licenses-journal-article-reuse

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