Astronomers have discovered a new dwarf planet and it is the most distant planet ever discovered in our Solar System.
According to Newscientist, the planet is officially called VG18 2018 but nicknamed Farout, it is about 18 billion km from Earth – 3.5 times the distance from Earth to Pluto.
A team of astronomers discovered Farout using the Japanese Subaru telescope in Hawaii. Solar System objects like these are found by looking at a series of images of the same point in the sky to spot any dots that appear to be moving relative to the background stars.
“I said ‘Far out’,” said Scott Sheppard, a team member at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC. far away. We don’t know much about Farout because of this distance. The images show it to be about 500 km across, large enough for it to be a dwarf planet. It also appears to be a pink planet, which may help suggest that it has an icy surface.
More observations of this tiny planet will help us determine an important detail: its orbit. The strange orbits of similar distant objects have led astronomers to hypothesize that they may be propelled by a giant planet at the outer edge of the Solar System. This unseen object has been named Planet X.
If Farout’s orbit is similarly warped, it could help narrow down our search for elusive planets. In fact, astronomers found Farout while searching for Planet X in the sky.
“There could be such a planet out there, but that will have to wait until we know the orbit,” Sheppard said. However, the orbit can be longer than 1000 years, so it will take several years of observations to get an accurate result.”