Astronomers have been completely thrown for a loop by a unprecedented discovery that challenges the very foundations of longstanding astronomical theories. The trans-Neptunian object (TNO) known as 2014 FE72 was first spotted in February 2014, but has since thrown off scientists by making an inexplicable U-turn on its path of rotation around the sun.
The object is believed to have originated from beyond the Kuiper Belt, the vast region of asteroids, dwarf planets, and other celestial bodies beyond Neptune’s orbit. Since its discovery, planets scientists have closely monitored 2014 FE72 and its unexpected movement.
The strange behavior of 2014 FE72 has thrown into question many of the established theories of solar system formation and evolution. While many objects in the solar system have moved in unorthodox patterns before, none has done so in such a prolonged fashion or challenged fundamental astronomical principles as this one does.
Experts from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have determined 2014 FE72 most likely originated from the Oort Cloud, an even more distant source of asteroids and comets much farther away from the sun than the Kuiper Belt. Their simulations suggest that as the object approached the Kuiper Belt, it was thrown off course by gravitational forces and instead into the distant orbit of Mars.
Considering the current trajectory of 2014 FE72, experts suggest it will return to the area near the Kuiper Belt within the next decade, where it will once again be affected by the gravitational forces of the sun and planets nearby. This new knowledge could provide clues to understanding the formation and evolution of solar systems throughout the universe.
Regardless of upcoming developments, scientists are still left with the unanswered question of how a single object can defy the fundamental principles of the cosmos. For now, astronomers must continue to monitor 2014 FE72 and compare its behavior with other unusual objects that call the Solar System home.