Just discovered! "Farout", the Farthest Object Ever Seen in the Solar System

Just discovered!

The research team is scoping out these ultradistant objects to search for the gravitational influence of a theorized super-Earth-size Planet Nine, also called Planet X, that researchers have posited orbits in the extreme reaches of the solar system.

The planet is 120 astronomical units (AU) from the sun, where 1 AU is defined as the distance between the Earth and the Sun. The dwarf planet Eris is now the second-farthest-out solar system object at a distance of 96 AU.

Pluto is now at about 34 AU, making 2018 VG18 more than three-and-a-half times more distant than the solar system'smost-famous dwarf planet.

However, the team said they did not yet know enough about Farout to tell whether it was being influenced by the putative Planet X.

"2018 VG18 is much more distant and slower moving than any other observed Solar System object, so it will take a few years to fully determine its orbit", said Scott S. Sheppard, of the Carnegie Institution for Science, who is one of the three astronomers credited with the discovery.

The team called 2018 VG18 "Farout", due to its extremely distant location in the solar system.

This image provided by the Carnegie Institution for Science shows an artist's concept of a dwarf planet that astronomers say is the farthest known object in our solar system, which they have nicknamed 'Farout'.

The existence of Farout was announced this week by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center and it has been given the provisional designation of "2018 VG18".

Solar system distances to scale showing the newly discovered 2018 VG18 nicknamed
Just discovered! "Farout", the Farthest Object Ever Seen in the Solar System

An ambitious team of astronomers has discovered the most "far out" object ever observed in our Solar System. The dwarf planet Sedna gets more than 900 AU away on its highly elliptical orbit, for example, and there are probably trillions of comets in the Oort Cloud, which lies between about 5,000 AU and 100,000 AU from the sun. Farout is estimated to be 500 km (310 miles) in diameter, and to take more than 1,000 years to orbit the Sun.

That's more than 100 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun - and about the same distance as Voyager 2, the NASA probe that launched in 1977 and reached interstellar space this month.

Discovery images of "Farout" were taken on November 10, 2018 at Japanese Subaru 8-meter telescope, which is located on Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

Astronomers have discovered the most distant body in the solar system, a pink micro-planet which has been nicknamed "Farout".

Discovery image of 2018 VG18 "Farout" from the Subaru Telescope on November 10, 2018. Credit: Roberto Molar Candanosa/Scott S. Sheppard/Carnegie Institution for Science. Observations made with the Magellan telescope confirmed the distance of 120 AU. The object was re-observed in early December with the Magellan telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. "This would make it a dwarf planet".

Sheppard and his colleagues suspect that Farout is a 300-mile-wide dwarf planet similar in makeup to the Saturnian moon Enceladus, based on a pinkish color that's typically associated with ice-rich objects.

For a bit of context, Pluto is 34 AU away. As part of this search, they have discovered space bodies nicknamed The Goblin and Biden.

It'll be a while before astronomers determine Farout's orbit.



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