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Space & Astronomy

New dwarf planet 'The Goblin' discovered

By T.K. Randall
October 2, 2018 · Comment icon 8 comments

Image Credit: Roberto Molar Candanosa / Scott Sheppard / Carnegie Institution for Science
The important new find also hints at the presence of another, much larger planet in the outer solar system.
This icy, distant world, which measures a mere 300km across, was found by a team of astronomers who had been hunting for the enigmatic and elusive Planet Nine.

Named 'The Goblin' due to its discovery during the Halloween season, the new dwarf planet has an extremely elongated orbit which takes it from around two-and-a-half times to a whopping 60 times the orbit of Pluto. It is thought to take an incredible 40,000 years just to complete a single orbit of the Sun.

This also means that 99% of the time, it is far too faint for us to see here on Earth.

"We are only just now uncovering what the very outer solar system might look like and what might be out there," said Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC.
"We believe there are thousands of dwarf planets in the distant solar system. We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg right now."

What makes this new dwarf planet particularly interesting is that it, like several other bodies in the outer solar system, appears to have an orbit influenced by another, much larger planet - one that astronomers have been struggling to locate for years.

"Despite centuries of surveys, our understanding of the solar system remains incomplete," said Konstantin Batygin, assistant professor of planetary science at Caltech.

"This certainly adds to the growing ledger of... objects that show Planet Nine's influence."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (8)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by paperdyer 6 years ago
Terrific discovery!  There's still hope for Plant X I mean IX.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Nnicolette 6 years ago
Honestly at this point you'd have to be pretty naeive to think there isn't either a large planet or smaller companion of the sun out there but im sure if enough of these objects are analysed it will be found eventually even if its in 50,000 years when we can see it.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Seti42 6 years ago
I hope they eventually name a newly discovered outer planet Yuggoth.
Comment icon #4 Posted by fred_mc 6 years ago
Interesting. I'm quite sceptical to there being a big planet out there though. I read earlier on this forum that 60000 years ago or so a red dwarf star passed so close to our sun so that it was inside the Oort cloud. I think it might have happened several times during the billions of years that the sun has existed that other stars have passed very close to the sun. They will then have modified the orbits of distant objects in the solar system.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 6 years ago
They may well have modified the orbits of objects, but not in the specific way that ever increasing numbers of objects have been modified. Computer simulations repeatedly show that the most likely explanation is a planet in the outer solar system.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 6 years ago
Another important point, these are Kuiper Belt objects, not Oort Cloud objects.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Blizno 6 years ago
I hope we don't! Our discovery of Yuggoth will cause the Mi-Go agents on Earth to waken Cthulhu, and we all know how badly that will end.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Orphalesion 6 years ago
So is it actually going to be officially called Goblin? If so.....awesome :-)

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