Astronomers Discover a Distant Solar System Object - 2015 TG387

04 Octobre, 2018, 13:41 | Auteur: Therese Cote

The good news? There's a brand new dwarf planet where we can launch the ultimate do-over! It is, according to a release by the researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science, an extremely distant body that is 80 AU-Astronomical Units where 1 AU is the distance from Earth to Sun-from the Sun.

Instead, another theoretically massive planet located near The Goblin would be Planet Nine, orbiting through the region known as the Oort Cloud.

When Pluto was discovered here in Arizona back in 1930, there was much excitement that this object was thought to be at the farthest edge of the solar system.

This means it takes up to 40,000 years to make a single orbit around the sun.

Yet over the past decade, scientists have argued Pluto should be reclassified as the ninth planet, especially as other outer orbit dwarf planets such as Sedna and 2012 VP113 have been discovered since the turn of the century.

The discovery gives further credence to the hypothesis that Planet X, which could be 10 times the size of Earth, could be influencing the orbits of objects like 2015 TG387 within the Kuiper Belt.

The discovery of a tiny planet dubbed "The Goblin" on the fringes of the solar system could indicate the presence of the fabled Planet Nine.

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Circling a "very elongated" orbit, the celestial body never comes closer to the Sun (a point called perihelion) than 65 AU.

Scott Sheppard, from the Carnegie Institution for Science, said of the Goblin, "Every small object we find that is isolated like this will bring us closer to finding the planet".

Sheppard and Trujillo, an assistant professor at Northern Arizona University, previously discovered 2012 VP113, which was revealed in 2014.

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 incredible region in the solar system, known as the Kuiper Belt.

With Halloween less than a month away, the world of astronomy has certainly found itself dabbling in spooky topics, most notably the skull-shaped asteroid due to whizz past Earth not long after the holiday. Goblin has an elliptical orbit that brings it closer to the Sun but also flings it further away compared to other inner Oort Cloud objects like 2012 VP113 and Sedna. It is this planet's orbit around the Sun that suggests that there has to a be a planet X out there.

Believed to possibly exist in the distant region known as the Oort Cloud, astronomers think its existence could provide an answer for numerous unusual orbits observed in the solar system, including The Goblin. For some 99 percent of their orbits, they are too distant and thus too faint for us to observe them. "We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg", Sheppard said. But if they're not being tugged on by the planets we know about, that leaves the door open for interactions with objects we haven't yet discovered, like Planet Nine.



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