Farthest object in solar system 'Farout' discovered

This illustration shows ‘Oumuamua racing toward the outskirts of our solar system. As the complex rotation of the object makes it difficult to determine the exact shape there are many models of what it could look like

NASA. NASA ESA STScIAstronomers Find Four Candidates for ‘Oumuamua-like Objects Orbiting Sun

The team hasn't determined 2018 VG18's orbit activity yet, so they can't tell if its movements are potentially shaped by Planet X, a suspected planet that's called "Planet 9" and is located really far from the sun.

This extreme trans-Neptunian object is about 120 astronomical units (AU) from Earth, where 1 AU is the average distance from the Earth to the Sun (about 92 million miles, or 149 million kilometers). Pluto is our Solar System's most famous dwarf planet, and it is about 34 AU from the Sun. Neptune is 30 astronomical units away, or 2.8 billion miles, and Pluto, now on the outward leg of its orbit, is 34.5 astronomical units, or 3.2 billion miles from the sun.

"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", Sheppard said in a news release.

The team called 2018 VG18 "Farout", due to its extremely distant location in the solar system. "The orbital similarities shown by numerous known small, distant Solar System bodies was the catalyst for our original assertion that there is a distant, massive planet at several hundred AU shepherding these smaller objects".

The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center announced the discovery overnight.

The question now about Farout, in its position way out in the solar system, is: Does it behave like the other distant solar system objects, which is to say, does 2018 VG18 have a far elliptical orbit, that points to the existence of a hypothetical Planet X.

There's something orbiting the sun, way, way beyond the distant realm of Pluto.

This distant body is so far away that experts believe it takes over 1,000 years to complete one orbit of 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.

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It's an estimated 500 kilometres (310 miles) across. Its pinkish color suggests it's an ice-rich body, according to the statement.

It's official: astronomers found a new dwarf planet in our Solar System - and it's the most distant object ever observed in our Solar System.

Image: Scott S. Sheppard/David Tholen.

A languid, dim speck of light showed up in images taken on November 10 by the Japanese Subaru 8-meter telescope located atop Mauna Kea on Hawaii island.

The discovery images of 2018 VG18. Observations made with the Magellan telescope confirmed the distance of 120 AU.

In early December, the Magellan telescope spotted 2018 VG18 for the second time.

Trujillo hailed the global nature of the discovery, which involved telescopes in Hawaii and Chile owned and operated by Japan, and researchers based in the US. They first suggested the existence of this possible planet in 2014 after finding "Biden" at 84 AU.

"With new wide-field digital cameras on some of the world's largest telescopes, we are finally exploring our solar system's fringes far beyond Pluto", he said. And in the meantime, maybe they'll even find that elusive Planet X.

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