State-sized object beyond Pluto hints at hidden Planet X

Credit: NASA

Meet ‘The Goblin’. This body’s maximum distance from the Sun is a massive 2300 times further out than Earth’s.

A newly spotted dwarf planet, 2015 TG387, adds to the mounting evidence that an unseen super-Earth prowls the edge of the solar system, reports Cnet.

Astronomers have found a small object far beyond Pluto that orbits the sun in a lonely, oblong loop, a discovery that supports the notion of a larger, more distant planet — often referred to as Planet X — wandering the edge of our solar system.

The object, 2015 TG387, is likely a dwarf planet with a diameter of about 300 kilometers (186 miles), making it about as wide as Massachusetts is long. It was found roughly 80 astronomical units (AU) from the sun. An AU is equal to the distance between the sun and Earth, or roughly 150 million kilometers (93 million miles).

Pluto is about 34 AU from the sun, so 2015 TG387 is [currently] two and a half times farther from the sun than the former ninth planet.

The new find, which has been nicknamed “The Goblin,” was introduced Tuesday by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center. A full report has been submitted to The Astronomical Journal.

Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science who is one of the co-discoverers, and his colleagues are among those who have observed similarities in the orbits of a number of very distant solar system objects, like 2015 TG387. That has led them to propose the existence of an undiscovered planet several times larger than Earth orbiting far beyond Pluto at hundreds of AU.

“These distant objects are like breadcrumbs leading us to Planet X,” Sheppard said in a release.

Continued here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

October 3, 2018 at 04:28AM

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