Published: Thu, October 04, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Distant Object at Edge of Solar System Supports Planet X Theory

Distant Object at Edge of Solar System Supports Planet X Theory

The names, Eris, Makemake, Sedna, Quaoar, Varuna and Haumea, are not part of most peoples' vocabulary, as these are a few of the new dwarf type planets that lie within this unbelievable region in the solar system, known as the Kuiper Belt.

Goblin's orbit is extremely elongated - so stretched out, in fact, that it takes 40,000 years for it to circle the sun.

A scrawny dwarf planet nicknamed the Goblin has been discovered well beyond Pluto.

Since that time, many new objects have been discovered at much greater distances than Pluto.

Astronomers have discovered a new object at the edge of our solar system. At its furthest point, it reaches all the way out to about 2,300 AU.

The confirmed discovery of 2015 TG387, aka "The Goblin" (it was monitored around the Halloween period here on Earth) was thanks to the largest and deepest survey ever conducted on distant solar objects, in the hunt for the ever-elusive 'Planet 9, ' that has been carried out by a team from the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Hawaii.

TG387 was first spotted in 2015, by the Japanese Subaru 8-meter telescope located atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii, hence the name, but after three years of study, astronomers have, for the first time released details about its discovery. It is this planet's orbit around the Sun that suggests that there has to a be a planet X out there.

Astronomers know of the "Kuiper Cliff", a region in the Kuiper Belt that seems to end at a distance from the Sun of 48 AU (1 AU is the distance of the Sun from the Earth), around 4.46 billion miles from the Sun! For scale, Pluto, which is not a planet, is about 34 AU.

"These objects are on elongated orbits, and we can only detect them when they are closest to the Sun".

"We think 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", according to Tholen, of the University of Hawaii.

The discovery gives further credence to the hypothesis that Planet X, which could be 10 times the size of Earth, could be influencing the orbits of objects like 2015 TG387 within the Kuiper Belt. For some 99 percent of their orbits, they are too distant and thus too faint for us to observe them.

"These distant objects are like breadcrumbs leading us to Planet X".

"They can be used as probes to understand what is happening at the edge of our Solar System", said Sheppard. Most simulations showed that the Goblin's orbit would have been stable for the age of the Solar System. 2015 TG387 is one of the few known objects that never comes close enough to the solar system's giant planets, like Neptune and Jupiter, to have significant gravitational interactions with them. "These simulations do not prove that there's 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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