New Dwarf planet spotted at a far distance of the system

The Goblin dwarf planet aka 2015

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 fantastic region in the solar system, known as the Kuiper Belt.

It joins other objects Sheppard and his team have found on the edge of the solar system since 2012.

Scott Sheppard and his colleagues at the Carnegie Institution for Science first spotted the new object, known officially as 2015 TG 387, around Halloween three years ago, so they gave it the nickname "The Goblin". "They can be used as probes to understand what is happening at the edge of our Solar System", explained Scott Sheppard from the Carnegie Institution for Science. "We don't know exactly how big it is, but we think it's about 300 kilometers in size, which is about six or seven times smaller than Pluto".

AU is a measurement defined as the distance between Earth and the Sun.

The doomsday collision theory is the stuff of science fiction, but NASA acknowledges the possibility that a ninth planet is orbiting the Sun hundreds of AU away. The speed gives the distance.

It's the orbit that tells astronomers whether the object is just a distant object, or whether it's an interesting distant object. "Currently we would only detect 2015 TG387 when it is near its closest approach to the sun". Such objects defy the normal expectations of how planets and asteroids form. Many exo-systems have planets in this mass range, but so far, our Solar System seems to lacking one. It's an elongated ellipse.

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The Goblin has an extremely elongated orbit, which appears to be under the gravitational influence of a giant object that could be the obscure Planet 9 (also known as Planet X).

Juliette Becker is an astronomer at the University of MI.

Researchers believe that studying objects similar to 2015 TG387 will lead to the discovery of Planet X in the future. The location in the sky where 2015 TG387 reaches perihelion is similar to 2012 VP113, Sedna, and most other known extremely distant trans-Neptunian objects, suggesting that something is pulling them into similar types of orbits. And it was named Planet Nine. It is one of the few known objects to steer clear of giant planets like Neptune and Jupiter, avoiding significant gravitational interactions with them.

"I guess I have kind of a ticker in my mind of how many objects do we need", Becker says. "We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg right now". A paper with the full details of the discovery has also been submitted to The Astronomical Journal.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The astronomers searching out the theorized Planet X, a far-off and dark object orbiting the sun that could explain some unusual behavior of objects far beyond Pluto, happened upon a serendipitous discovery: a new dwarf planet with a weird elliptical orbit. 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.

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