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Most distant object in our solar system found


Posted on Thursday, 12 November, 2015 | Comment icon 41 comments

A mysterious world lurks in the outer reaches of the solar system. Image Credit: NASA
Astronomers have discovered a dwarf planet located three times further away from the sun than Pluto.
Known as V774104, this tiny world exists at the very edge of our solar system where it lurks in the cold and darkness over 100 times further out than the distance from the Earth to the sun.

It was picked up back in October by astronomer Scott Sheppard and his colleagues who were utilizing the Subaru telescope in Hawaii to search for distant objects orbiting the sun.

Because they had no idea where these objects might be the team recorded multiple images of the night sky and then used a computer to analyze and compare each one for signs of movement.

"I remember I was flying back on the plane, looking through the data, and I remember when this popped up on the screen, my eyes opened up," said Sheppard.

The origins of this newly discovered world, which is much smaller than our moon and is probably made of ice, remain a bit of a mystery due to how far away it is from everything else.

One possibility is that it was deposited by a large planet that was tossed out of the solar system in the distant past, while another is that it originally came from another solar system entirely.

The next step for the team will be to determine if its orbit actually takes it closer to the sun than it is now or if it remains out at the edge of the solar system on a permanent basis.

"This object is basically going to be interesting no matter what we find its orbit to be," said Sheppard.

Source: NPR.org | Comments (41)

Tags: Dwarf Planet, Solar System

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #32 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 23 November, 2015, 7:39
i don't continue topics in which some of the crowd is already starting from the premises everything i say is wrong. I don't speak to dead ears. I've got news for you, science presumes ALL ideas are wrong unless evidence is provided to prove the hypothesis is right. You have provided NO evidence therefore your idea MUST be considered wrong. Rejecting your idea is not the result of dead ears, it's the result of logic, rational thought and scientific understanding.
Comment icon #33 Posted by JesseCuster on 23 November, 2015, 23:11
i don't continue topics in which some of the crowd is already starting from the premises everything i say is wrong. I don't speak to dead ears. It has nothing to do with starting premises. It has to do with facts. What you say about gravity is both weird and wrong. Orbits do not require the existence of dark matter in order to prevent them from being chaotic. Orbits are not caused by the "circular motion of the sun". I have no idea what you were talking about when you mentioned celestial bodies having their mass reduced. I'm going to assume it's wrong because it sounds like weird nonsense. You... [More]
Comment icon #34 Posted by badeskov on 24 November, 2015, 1:30
i don't continue topics in which some of the crowd is already starting from the premises everything i say is wrong. I don't speak to dead ears. The problem is that you are not speaking to dead ears. You are simply speaking rubbish. You in fact have no clue of what you speak. Cheers, Badeskov
Comment icon #35 Posted by Emma_Acid on 2 December, 2015, 10:34
i can't believe at that distance sun is still exercising influence over it. This may just prove there is more than just magnetism causing planets and smaller objects to obit sun. gotta be some defined traces in the dark matter You couldn't cram more wrong into a post if you tried.
Comment icon #36 Posted by Frank Merton on 2 December, 2015, 10:56
You couldn't cram more wrong into a post if you tried. One might, just might, think he was trying to.
Comment icon #37 Posted by Taun on 2 December, 2015, 19:03
Waspie (or anyone else for that matter)... At risk of sounding dumber than I usually do: Is there a way to calculate just how far out an object can be, and still be under the influence of the Sun's gravity?... I know that if you go out far enough, you fall more under the influence of some other massive body (i.e. other star)... But is there a known outer limit to our sun's "reach"?...
Comment icon #38 Posted by JesseCuster on 3 December, 2015, 7:57
Waspie (or anyone else for that matter)... At risk of sounding dumber than I usually do: Is there a way to calculate just how far out an object can be, and still be under the influence of the Sun's gravity?... I know that if you go out far enough, you fall more under the influence of some other massive body (i.e. other star)... But is there a known outer limit to our sun's "reach"?... Gravity is essentially limitless in its reach. Everything made of matter exerts a gravitational pull on everything else but a couple of factors come in to play1) The gravitational pull of an object is proportiona... [More]
Comment icon #39 Posted by Taun on 3 December, 2015, 11:38
Thanks Jesse... I knew about the effects of gravitational pull, being technically "limitless", but practically limited... I was just wondering if they have yet determined where that point is that the sun's pull is too weak to hold an object in orbit...
Comment icon #40 Posted by S I N on 3 December, 2015, 12:12
Thanks Jesse... I knew about the effects of gravitational pull, being technically "limitless", but practically limited... I was just wondering if they have yet determined where that point is that the sun's pull is too weak to hold an object in orbit... Around my mom
Comment icon #41 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy on 3 December, 2015, 12:13
I think the general consensus is that the sun could hold a body in orbit to around 2 light-years, that is approximately 18 trillion kilometers. Beyond that any orbit would be altered by even small influences, so it wouldn't be stable. Thats in practical term. In theory JesseCuster is correct in saying that gravitys reach is potentially infinite, although as the sun is "only" around 4,6 billion years old, and gravity travels at the speed of light, the Suns gravity "only" extends 4,6 billion light-years at this time.


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