Science

Extremely distant solar system object discovered

Extremely distant solar system object discovered”

Movie of the discovery images of 2015 TG387.

The 300 km-wide "Goblin" was discovered roughly 80 astronomical units (AU) -the average distance between the Earth and the Sun- from our Sun. Meet the Goblin. Formerly known as 2015 TG387, the Goblin gets its name from being discovered around Halloween 2015.

Astronomers have named this theoretical planet Tyche after the Greek goddess of fortune and fame.

Scientists theorize that its orbital pattern might be connected to the White Whale of planets, the much-mythologized Planet X. The unseen Planet X would be the ninth planet in our solar system (sorry Pluto) and is thought to be three times larger than Earth.

The small icy planet has the rough width of MA, and its solar orbit takes a staggering 40,000 years to complete.

The two other newly discovered dwarf planets are 90377 Sedna, found in 2003, which is about 620 miles across, and 2012 VP113, discovered in 2012, which is about 310 miles. Astronomists have showed their affinity for Pluto's unique traits, including an underground ocean and multi-layer atmosphere, calling it our solar system's "second-most complex, interesting planet". For scale, Pluto, which is not a planet, is about 34 AU.

Simply, the solar system is packed with so many small planets and the discoveries just keep on coming!

"These objects are on elongated orbits, and we can only detect them when they are closest to the sun".

"These distant objects are like breadcrumbs leading us to Planet X", said Scott Sheppard, a researcher at the Carnegie Institution of Science.

"We think there could be thousands of small bodies like 2015 TG387 out on the Solar System's fringes, but their distance makes finding them very hard", said David Tholen from University of Hawaii. "Or, you never know, if we find more of these, maybe they'll stop pointing toward the planet". This suggests that there still is a massive super-Earth far far away from the Sun.

"We are only just now uncovering what the very outer solar system might look like and what might be out there", said Scott Sheppard of the research team.

Meanwhile, Sheppard and the rest of his research team will begin a new search starting next month to locate other objects in the fringes of the solar system, including Planet Nine. The supposed planet has been dubbed "Planet 9" or "Planet X", and its orbit would be hundreds of AUs from the Sun. "For some 99 percent of its 40,000-year orbit, it would be too faint to see".

The names, Eris, Makemake, Sedna, Quaoar, Varuna and Haumea, are not part of most peoples' vocabulary, as these are a few of the new dwarf type planets that lie within this unbelievable region in the solar system, known as the Kuiper Belt.



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