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Astronomers Discover ‘Exiled Asteroid’ in Outer Reaches of Solar System

Astronomers said they’ve found a carbon-rich asteroid that somehow traveled billions of miles from between Mars and Jupiter to the Kuiper Belt in the outer reaches of the solar system.

“The reflectance spectrum of 2004 EW95 was clearly distinct from the other observed outer Solar System objects,” said a lead researcher, Tom Seccull of Queen’s University Belfast, Eurekalert reported. “It looked enough of a weirdo for us to take a closer look.”

Kuiper Belt Object 2004 EW95, they said, is rich in carbon.

“While there have been previous reports of other ‘atypical’ Kuiper Belt Object spectra, none were confirmed to this level of quality,” said European Space Organization astronomer Olivier Hainaut. “The discovery of a carbonaceous asteroid in the Kuiper Belt is a key verification of one of the fundamental predictions of dynamical models of the early Solar System.”