That must have been a CLOSE encounter for a detectable deflection to happen at all, true?....
Most KBOs are real lightweights, considering their low densities. Considering the odds of Pioneer 10 coming anywhere near anything
out there, maybe a search within a 10 deg radius of the last known position would actually be worth doing! Odds are that the object is pretty hefty by KBO standards...plus, the BBC article indicated that it might be on a solar escape trajectory, so the history/orbital dynamics of this hypothetical body would be extremely
interesting in so many ways...
Here is a post from Oct 29 on Big TNO thread that I posted after en email enquiry I made of the scientist quoted in this same article
Like to share with you an email I received today from Giacomo Giampieri
Thank you for your interest in our research, and sorry for the delay in
answering your query.
The signal we studied in 1999 was very interesting and peculiar.
Unfortunately, a single flyby (assuming that the signal was real) does
not allow an unambiguous measure of the mass and the orbital parameter
of the alleged body. We could determine a rather wide range of possible
values for its position, but given that 7 years were already passed,
the uncertainty in the body's position was too big to allow for an
optical detection. Lacking an independent confirmation of the body
existence, we could not draw any final conclusion about the signal that
I hope this answers your query.
On 11 Sep 2005, at 04:32, Richard K. wrote:>
> I have been reading with interest an old news article
> A few quotes from the article above
> “PN 10 experienced a gravitational deflection in December 1992.
> This story was reported by BBC News Online Science Editor Dr David
> Whitehouse on 28 September 1999”
> "On 8 December, 1992, when Pioneer was 8.4 billion km (5.2 billion
> miles) away, they saw that it had been deflected from its course for
> about 25 days."
> With Pioneer travelling at 15km/s it would indicate a big object
> would it not?
> Has anything come of this, it happened 13 years ago? Was it ever
> visually observed from Earth?
> "In a few weeks time, they are expected to be able to place an upper
> limit on the mass of the object and make predictions about its
> position. Early indications suggest it may be an object that is being
> ejected from our Solar System after encountering a major planet."
> I would very much appreciate any information
> Richard K