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Researchers Discover New Solar System Object While On Hunt For Planet X

05 October 2018, 12:34 | Brenda Erickson

New extremely distant solar system object found during hunt for Planet X

Dwarf planet 'The Goblin' discovery redefining solar system

It's just a dwarf planet, about 200 miles across, but some researchers think finding it increases the likelihood that there is a heretofore undiscovered giant planet lurking in the outer reaches of our solar system.

2015 TG387 (the object was nicknamed "The Goblin" because of the TG designation and the October 2015 discovery date) is about 80 astronomical units away from the Sun, almost 2.5 times further than Pluto is from the Sun. As it travels along 99 per cent of its orbit, 2015 TG387 is too far and too faint to be detected. And 2015 TG387′s lopsided elliptical orbit takes it much farther away than those two remote objects - at its farthest, the Goblin reaches 2,300 AU, into a region of space called the Oort cloud. The discovery of 2012 VP113 led Sheppard and Trujillo to notice similarities of the orbits of several extremely distant Solar System objects, and they proposed the presence of an unknown planet several times larger than Earth-sometimes called Planet X or Planet 9-orbiting the Sun well beyond Pluto at hundreds of AUs.

It took the team a few years of observations to obtain a good orbit for 2015T G387 because it moves slowly, over a large orbit, so it has a very long orbital period.

A tiny new dwarf planet - nicknamed "The Goblin" - has been spotted at the outer edge of our solar system, and it offers hints it's not alone out there.

Discovering Planet X would "redefine our knowledge of the solar system's evolution", he added.

It joins other objects Sheppard and his team have found on the edge of the solar system since 2012.

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"This is just the tip of the iceberg", Sheppard said in an interview.

The paper describing the discovery of 2015 TG387 has been submitted to The Astronomical Journal. It was first seen three years ago, on October 13, 2015, through the Subaru telescope at Mauna Kea Observatories in Hawaii.

"What makes this result really interesting is that Planet X seems to affect 2015 TG387 the same way as all the other extremely distant Solar System objects", said Northern Arizona University astronomer Chad Trujillo in the statement.

There's no doubt about it: the discovery of this far away dwarf planet is leading researchers closer and closer to finding out more than ever about what's in the furthest areas of the great beyond.

This large difference between The Goblin's closest approach and its farthest approach is the evidence for Planet Nine that astronomers are looking for. He added, "I'm running code as we speak that evaluates how the inferred orbit and mass of Planet Nine are affected by this new object".

Far beyond the orbits of the solar system's eight planets, astronomers have found another object they've nicknamed "The Goblin".

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The object, 2015 TG387, is likely a dwarf planet with a diameter of about 300 kilometers (186 miles), making it about as wide as MA is long. In other words, it takes around 40,000 Earth years for it to travel once around the Sun, University of Hawaii's David Tholen said, adding that "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".

"We think there are thousands of these, and a lot of them are too distant to detect", Sheppard said.

The existence of a Ninth planet was not recorded directly.

And its unusual orbit supports the theory there is a huge, rocky world ten times bigger than Earth on the outskirts of our star system.

Meanwhile, the newfound planet Goblin very cold.

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