The most-distant solar system object ever observed: 'Farout' pink dwarf planet more than 120 times farther than Earth is from the Sun could shed new light on Planet X

Dwarf planet is more than 120 times farther than Earth is from the Sun, a new record Nicknamed 'Farout', the new object has been given the provisional designation 2018 VG18 It was discovered as part of a search for suspected Planet X

18 December 2018 - 09:57

Astronomers have discovered the most distant body ever observed in our Solar System.  

Nicknamed 'Farout', the new object was announced by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center and has been given the provisional designation 2018 VG18. 

It is about 120 astronomical units (AU), where 1 AU is defined as the distance between the Earth and the Sun, and the first known Solar System object detected at a distance of more than 100 times farther than Earth is from the Sun.


Nicknamed 'Farout', the new object was announced by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center and has been given the provisional designation 2018 VG18. Its brightness suggests that it is about 500 km in diameter, likely making it spherical in shape and a dwarf planet. It has a pinkish hue, a color generally associated with ice-rich objects.

Nicknamed 'Farout', the new object was announced by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center and has been given the provisional designation 2018 VG18. Its brightness suggests that it is about 500 km in diameter, likely making it spherical in shape and a dwarf planet. It has a pinkish hue, a color generally associated with ice-rich objects.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT FAROUT? 

Nicknamed 'Farout', the new object was announced by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center and has been given the provisional designation 2018 VG18. 

It is about 120 astronomical units (AU), where 1 AU is defined as the distance between the Earth and the Sun. 

Its brightness suggests that it is about 310 miles in diameter, likely making it spherical in shape and a dwarf planet.

It has a pinkish hue, a color generally associated with ice-rich objects.

'All that we currently know about 2018 VG18 is its extreme distance from the Sun, its approximate diameter, and its color,' said the University of Hawaii's David Tholen. 

Its brightness suggests that it is about 310 miles in diameter, likely making it spherical in shape and a dwarf planet.

It has a pinkish hue, a color generally associated with ice-rich objects, the researchers say.

'Because 2018 VG18 is so distant, it orbits very slowly, likely taking more than 1,000 years to take one trip around the Sun.'

The discovery images of 2018 VG18 were taken at the Japanese Subaru 8-meter telescope located atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii on November 10, 2018.

The second-most-distant observed Solar System object is Eris, at about 96 AU. 

Pluto is currently at about 34 AU, making 2018 VG18 more than three-and-a-half times more distant than the Solar System's most-famous dwarf planet.

It is about 120 astronomical units (AU), where 1 AU is defined as the distance between the Earth and the Sun, and the first known Solar System object detected at a distance of more than 100 times farther than Earth is from the Sun.

It is about 120 astronomical units (AU), where 1 AU is defined as the distance between the Earth and the Sun, and the first known Solar System object detected at a distance of more than 100 times farther than Earth is from the Sun.

The discovery was made by Carnegie's Scott S. Sheppard, the University of Hawaii's David Tholen, and Northern Arizona University's Chad Trujillo.

2018 VG18 was discovered as part of the team's continuing search for extremely distant Solar System objects, including the suspected Planet X, which is sometimes also called Planet 9.

WHAT IS MYSTERIOUS 'PLANET X'?

Astronomers believe that the orbits of a number of bodies in the distant reaches of the solar system have been disrupted by the pull of an as yet unidentified planet.

First proposed by a group at CalTech in the US, this alien world was theorised to explain the distorted paths seen in distant icy bodies.

In order to fit in with the data they have, this alien world - popularly called Planet Nine - would need to be roughly four time the size of Earth and ten times the mass.

Researchers say a body of this size and mass would explain the clustered paths of a number of icy minor planets beyond Neptune.

First proposed by a group at CalTech in the US, this alien world was theorised to explain the distorted paths seen in distant icy bodies.

First proposed by a group at CalTech in the US, this alien world was theorised to explain the distorted paths seen in distant icy bodies.

Its huge orbit would

mean it takes between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make a single pass around the sun. 

The theoretical Planet Nine is based on the gravitational pull it

exerts on these bodies, with astronomers confident it will be found in the coming years.

Those hoping for theoretical Earth-sized planets proposed by astrologers or science fiction writers - which are 'hiding behind the sun' and linked with Doomsday scenarios - may have to keep searching.


Discovery images of 2018 VG18, nicknamed "Farout," from the Subaru Telescope on Nov. 10, 2018. Farout moves between the two discovery images while the background stars and galaxies do not move over the one hour between images.
Discovery images of 2018 VG18, nicknamed "Farout," from the Subaru Telescope on Nov. 10, 2018. Farout moves between the two discovery images while the background stars and galaxies do not move over the one hour between images.

The team doesn't know 2018 VG18's orbit very well yet, so they have not been able to

determine if it shows signs of being shaped by Planet X.

'2018 VG18 is much more distant and slower moving than any other observed Solar System object, so it will take a few years to fully

determine its orbit,' said Sheppard.

'But it was found in a similar location on the sky

to the other known extreme Solar System objects, suggesting it might have the same type of orbit that most of them do.

'The orbital similarities shown by many of the known small, distant Solar System bodies was

the catalyst for our original assertion that there is a distant, massive planet at several hundred AU shepherding these smaller objects.'

2018 VG18 was seen for the second time in early December at the Magellan telescope at

Carnegie's Las Campanas Observatory in Chile.

These recovery observations were performed by the team with the addition of graduate student Will Oldroyd of Northern Arizona University.

Over the next week, they monitored 2018 VG18 with the Magellan telescope to secure its path across the sky and obtain its basic physical properties such as brightness and color.

The Magellan observations confirmed that 2018 VG18 is around 120 AU, making it the first Solar System object observed beyond 100 AU. 

THE GOBLIN: A CLUE TO PLANET 9?

In October, the same group of researchers announced the discovery of another distant Solar System object, called 2015 TG387 and nicknamed 'The Goblin,' because it was first seen near Halloween. 

The Goblin was discovered at about 80 AU and has an orbit that is consistent with it being influenced by an unseen Super-Earth-sized Planet X on the Solar System's very distant fringes.

Pictured is a predicted orbit of the new dwarf planet, nicknamed 'the goblin' (left). It never comes closer to the Sun, a point called perihelion, than about 65 AU. Only two other objects, known as 2012 VP113 and Sedna at 80 and 76 AU respectively, have more-distant perihelia

Pictured is a predicted orbit of the new dwarf planet, nicknamed 'the goblin' (left). It never comes closer to the Sun, a point called perihelion, than about 65 AU. Only two other objects, known as 2012 VP113 and Sedna at 80 and 76 AU respectively, have more-distant perihelia

The existence of a ninth major planet at the fringes of the Solar System was first proposed by this same research team in 2014 when they discovered 2012 VP113, nicknamed Biden, which is currently near 84 AU.

2015 TG387 and 2012 VP113 never get close enough to the Solar System's giant planets, like Neptune and Jupiter, to have significant gravitational interactions with them. 

This means that these extremely distant objects can be probes of what is happening in the Solar System's outer reaches.


Source: daily mail
MAY INTEREST YOU x
Is the GYM giving you a hangover? Doctor reveals why a workout can leave you feeling nauseous and anxious (and how to beat it)
Is the GYM giving you a hangover? Doctor reveals why a workout can...
North Korean uranium plant 'is leaking radioactive waste into a nearby river putting hundreds of thousands of people at risk of cancer and brain defects'
North Korean uranium plant 'is leaking radioactive waste into a...