Askew in the outer solar system

A chunk of ice orbiting backwards around the sun could offer hints about the mysterious origin of some comets.

10:39pm, October 12, 2008

Politicians may sometimes overuse the word “maverick,” but it’s an apt moniker for a highly askew chunk of ice recently discovered in the outer solar system.

The 50-kilometer–wide body, dubbed 2008 KV42, orbits the sun backwards — opposite the direction of the eight planets and every other remote body known in the solar system. Hand-in-hand with its backward motion, 2008 KV42 also has the most highly inclined orbit of any outer solar system body.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from Science News