What is Scattered Disc?

Scattered disc is one of the remote areas in the solar system populated by a small number of icy minor planets. It was discovered during 1980s when charge-coupled device in telescopes are introduced with a combination of higher capacity computers with better image analysis which allows better deep sky surveys. The discovery contributed in a way that trans-Neptunian objects are then discovered later on.

The icy minor planets are one of the minor categories of the trans-Neptunian family. The scattered disc has inclination up to 40 degree, perihelia more than 30 astronomical units and also orbital eccentricity up to 0.8. It is believed that the gravitational scattering by huge gases caused the existence of these orbits, and the objects subject to perturbation by Neptune. OIts orbit can grow further than 100 astronomical units while the scattered objects’ nearest distance from the Sun is only 30-35 astronomical units. This result the scattered objects to be known as one of the furthest and coolest objects within the universe. The hidden part of the scattered disc somehow overlaps with a torus-shaped region of orbiting objects called Kuiper belt. However, the outer limits are much in distance from the Sun.

Due to the fact that it has an unstable characteristic, astronomers concluded that the scattered discs are located at the original place where periodic comets are found. The periodic comets can be observed together with centaurs, which are population of icy bodies between Neptune and Jupiter in the Solar system. Such incident makes the scattered objects’ migration from the disc to inner Solar system to be the half of the migration stage. Hence, perturbation from other gigantic planets sends the scattered objects towards the Sun, making the objects transformed into periodic comets. Besides, the objects from most of the Oort cloud are also believed to be formed by the scattered disc.

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