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The orbits of Kuiper belt objects also indicate a violent past.
The solar system's nine planets follow orbits around the sun that are shaped like ellipses, or stretched-out circles.
It launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, into orbit around the Earth.
The object's orbit is estimated to have a period of 5,000 years, an elongated, cometlike circuit that stretches into the void beyond the orbits of Neptune and Pluto.
Recently, astronomers reported the surprising discovery of a very large diameter Kuiper Belt planetoid -- (90377) Sedna -- on a distant, 12,500-year-long, eccentric orbit centered approximately 500 astronomical units from the Sun.
These reservoirs of dust are generated when the tugs of planets disturb the orderly orbits of asteroids, comets, and other detritus left over from the planet-making era.
But the complex and constantly changing gravitational interactions of the major planets with small solar-system objects like 433 Eros make their orbits unstable and easily disturbed.
Their orbits are not like the irregular satellites of the giant planets," since they're close to Mars and have nearly circular orbits with nearly zero inclination, he notes.
Indeed, in a 1999 study looking for planets that closely orbit stars in the globular cluster 47 Tucanae, the Hubble Space Telescope failed to find a single one.
launching satellites into orbit altitudes between 5,600 nautical miles (about 10,000 kilometers) and 10,000 nautical miles (about 18,000 kilometers);
Furthermore, a closer analysis by Ghez and her colleagues has revealed that the orbits of the close-in stars are not random in all their properties.
The NASA-owned Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) consists of a constellation of satellites in geosynchronous orbits and a ground station complex located at White Sands, N.