“We’ve just detected, for the first time, X-rays coming from an object in our Kuiper Belt, and learned that Pluto is interacting with the solar wind in an unexpected and energetic fashion,” said Dr. Carey Lisse of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. “We can expect other large Kuiper Belt objects to be doing the same.”A report from journal Icarus reads what Dr. Lisse expressed was a fairly astounding discovery because Pluto has no natural means to emit X-rays, Sci-News reports. Dr. Lisse however knew that gas surrounding pluto and solar wind may have caused the X-rays. Because of this, members of the science team for New Horizons are now interested in studyin more about the interactions of Pluto’s gases and the solar wind. The spacecraft is loaded with instruments designed to closely monitor and measure that activity and researchers are going to use the harvested data to create a visualization of Pluto emiting the X-rays. What’s still puzzling is that readings on the X-rays brightness are much brighter than it should be provided the amount of solar wind passing by Pluto’s atmosphere.
“Before our observations, scientists thought it was highly unlikely that we’d detect X-rays from Pluto, causing a strong debate as to whether Chandra should observe it at all,” said Dr. Scott Wolk, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “Prior to Pluto, the most distant solar system body with detected X-ray emission was Saturn’s rings and disk.”The Chandra discovery is particularly astonishing since New Horizons learned about Pluto’s atmosphere was steadier than what was expected until the spacecraft grazed over the planet last July 2016. Although Pluto is discharging enough gas out of its atmosphere to create the observed X-rays, there would not be enough solar wind to reach Pluto coming from our Sun in the first place. One explanation may be that other magnetic fields focus more particles than that expected from the solar winds. A neutral gas donut formation may have formed in the center of Pluto’s orbit. The mystery still remains to be solved as of this writing. One wild theory suggests that it may be a by-product of intelligent life activities, which is very less probable but possible.
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