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Episode 2384

90377 Sedna
Tue, 2023-Nov-14 00:42 UTC
Length - 3:24

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Tuesday, 14 November 2023 is 90377 Sedna.

Sedna (minor-planet designation 90377 Sedna) is a dwarf planet in the outermost reaches of the Solar System discovered in 2003. Spectroscopy has revealed that Sedna's surface composition is largely a mixture of water, methane, and nitrogen ices with tholins, similar to those of some other trans-Neptunian objects. Its surface is one of the reddest among Solar System objects. Sedna, within estimated uncertainties, is tied with Ceres as the largest planetoid not known to have a moon. It has a diameter of approximately 1,000 km (most likely between the sizes of the dwarf planet Ceres and Saturn's moon Tethys), with an unknown mass.

Sedna's orbit is one of the largest in the Solar System, with its aphelion (farthest distance from the Sun) being approximately 937 astronomical units (AU). This is 31 times Neptune's distance from the Sun, and well beyond the closest portion of the heliopause, which defines the outer boundary of interplanetary space. As of 2023, Sedna is near perihelion, its closest approach to the Sun, at a distance of 84 AU (13 billion km), almost three times farther than Neptune. The dwarf planets Eris and Gonggong are presently further from the Sun than Sedna. An exploratory fly-by mission to Sedna at perihelion could be completed in 24.5 years using a Jupiter gravity assist.

Sedna has an exceptionally elongated orbit, and takes approximately 11,400 years to return to its closest approach to the Sun at a distant 76 AU. The IAU initially considered Sedna a member of the scattered disc, a group of objects sent into highly elongated orbits by the gravitational influence of Neptune. However, several astronomers contested this classification, because its perihelion is too large for it to have been scattered by any of the known planets. This has led some astronomers to informally refer to it as the first known member of the inner Oort cloud. It is the prototype of a new orbital class of object, the sednoids, which include 2012 VP113 and Leleākūhonua.

Astronomer Michael E. Brown, co-discoverer of Sedna, believes that understanding Sedna's unusual orbit could yield information about the origin and early evolution of the Solar System.

It might have been perturbed into its orbit by one or more stars within the Sun's birth cluster, or possibly it was captured from the planetary system of another star. The clustering of the orbits of Sedna and similar objects is speculated to be evidence for a planet beyond the orbit of Neptune.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:42 UTC on Tuesday, 14 November 2023.

For the full current version of the article, see 90377 Sedna on Wikipedia.

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