A tiny dwarf planet detected on the edge of the Solar System

A tiny dwarf planet detected on the edge of the Solar System
A tiny dwarf planet detected on the edge of the Solar System

A new object far removed from the Sun, well beyond Neptune, was detected by American astrophysicists who were trying to find the planet X, this ninth planet that would count our Solar System.

If they have not yet detected this mysterious Planet X, astrophysicist Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institute and his colleagues believe that the orbit of this new object supports the presence of a planet even more distant, perhaps a super-Earth.

Indeed, the long elongated orbit of the new object named 2015 TG387, which they nicknamed “the Goblin” suggests that a ninth planet could be in the cloud of Oort, the extreme limit of our system, well beyond the Kuiper belt, the last asteroid belt.

A tiny dwarf planet detected on the edge of the Solar System
Photo: NASA

If the presence of these two stars were confirmed, the outer limits of our system would be completely redrawn.

At present, the most distant known dwarf planet is Pluto, which is at an average distance of 5880 million kilometers from the Sun.

A tiny dwarf planet detected on the edge of the Solar System
Representation of the elliptical orbit for the farthest from the Sun of the star 2015 TG387. Photo: Carnegie Institute for Science

The dwarf planet that would have been detected would be an icy world with an estimated diameter of 300 km. It would be a “small” dwarf planet. As close as possible, she moves away from the Sun about 2.5 times farther than Pluto. At the farthest distance, it moves away from the Sun up to 60 times farther than Pluto.

This object would be the third dwarf planet discovered in the last years on the borders of the system, after 2003 UB313 and the star 2012 VP113.

These objects from within the Oort cloud are extremely interesting to study. They can be used as probes to understand what is happening on the periphery of our solar system.

Scott Sheppard, astrophysicist at the Carnegie Institute
“We think there could be thousands of small bodies like 2015 TG387 on the periphery of the Solar System, but their distance makes them very difficult to detect,” says David Tholen from the University of Hawaii.

Did you know?

Pluto, discovered in 1930, was considered the ninth planet of our system until August 24, 2006. The General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union then removed the status of the planet to him in the column of dwarf planets as well as Ceres, Haumah, Makemake and Eris.

The researchers argue that a hypothetical planet X seems to affect 2015 TG387 in the same way that it would affect all other objects extremely far from the Sun. If the current simulations do not prove that there is another massive planet in our system, they are further proof that something huge is in its confines.

The details of this discovery will soon be the subject of an article in The Astronomical Journal.