'Goblin' planet with 40000-year-long solar orbit discovered in solar system

Jan Cross
October 4, 2018

When Pluto was discovered here in Arizona back in 1930, there was much excitement that this object was thought to be at the farthest edge of the solar system.

Astronomers have found a new dwarf planet way out beyond Pluto that never gets closer than 65 AUs to the Sun. Follow-up observations at the Magellan telescope at Carnegie's Las Campanas Observatory in Chile and the Discovery Channel Telescope in Arizona, were obtained in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, to measure 2015 TG387's orbit. 2015 TG387 can be seen moving between the images near the center, while the more distant background stars and galaxies remain stationary.

"These distant objects are like breadcrumbs leading us to Planet X. The more of them we can find, the better we can understand the outer Solar System and the possible planet that we think is shaping their orbits-a discovery that would redefine our knowledge of the Solar System's evolution", one of the researchers, Scott Sheppard, explained.

2015 TG387 was discovered about 80 astronomical units (AU) from the sun.

There are officially eight planets in our solar system - yes, I know, Pluto was totally a planet, but not anymore - but that doesn't mean there isn't something lurking on the edge of our system that hasn't yet been spotted.

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The dwarf planet is currently about two-and-a-half times further from the sun than Pluto is right now, but it's in an elliptical orbit so extreme that it will eventually be some 67 times the distance from the sun as Pluto and into the Inner Oort cloud.

Believed to possibly exist in the distant region known as the Oort Cloud, astronomers think its existence could provide an answer for numerous odd orbits observed in the solar system, including The Goblin. "We are only seeing the tip of the ice berg".

Tholen first observed 2015 TG387 in October of 2015 at the Japanese Subaru 8-meter telescope on Maunakea, Hawaii.

With a diameter of just 186 miles, The Goblin is also on the small side, even for a dwarf planet. Whether or not Planet X exists, we're certainly a long ways away from discovering it, much less developing the technology that will allow us to warp speed our asses over there. "We believe there are thousands of dwarf planets in the distant solar system". It's 2,300 times farther from the sun than Earth at its most distant orbit.

Meanwhile, Sheppard and the rest of his research team will begin a new search starting next month to locate other objects in the fringes of the solar system, including Planet Nine. TG387 is the only known object that revolves around the Sun and does not have any significant gravitational interactions with the gas giants Neptune and Jupiter, says the report. "These simulations do not prove that there is another massive planet in our Solar System, but they are further evidence that something big could be out there", Trujillo concludes.

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