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August 15, 2006

Discovery Hints at a Quadrillion Space Rocks Beyond Neptune

Starting to discover Quadrillion Trans-Neptunian Objects by spotting the dips in light from a star when the object pass in front.

The researchers estimate that the number of TNOs reaches around a quadrillion, rather than the mere billions to a trillion as previously thought.

This shows an extremely dense disk of material at the outer edges of the solar system mostly populated by smaller bodies, Cooray said. "Since these are leftover material from the solar system formation process, it says that the original disk from which the planets formed was more massive at distances around Neptune than previously suggested and in strong conflict with some of the early models for the formation of Kuiper Belt Objects."

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