A team of astronomers have announced the discovery of a tiny dwarf planet in our Solar System, lying almost two and a half times the distance between Pluto and the Sun. Say hello to 2015 TG387, nicknamed the “Goblin”!
Over the last few years we have become used to the discovery of many exoplanets. We are not complaining. The discovery of a new body in our Solar System – no matter how small – is just as exciting! The astronomer, Scott Sheppard from the Carnegie Institution for Science and his colleagues Chad Trujillo from Northern Arizona University and David Tholen from Hawaii University are to be credited for this new find. The details of their discovery can be found on the arXiv website.
The planet, 2015 TG387 – whose diameter is no more than 300 meters – is found at about 80 AU from the Sun (one AU equals the distance that separates the Earth from our star which is about 150 million kilometers). This new dwarf planet has only just been discovered as recent technology has developed enough to allow us. The Goblin lies so far from the sun that it would take 40, 000 years to rotate around it. In fact 2, 300 AU is the furthest distance the planet can get from the sun.
“These so-called Inner Oort Cloud objects like 2015 TG387, 2012 VP113, and Sedna are isolated from most of the solar system’s known mass, which makes them immensely interesting,” explained Sheppard the lead author of the study. “They can be used as probes to understand what is happening at the edge of our solar system.”
But what “pulls” this tiny dwarf planet so far from our Sun? Researchers believe there is a possible Planet X out there which is a least 10 times the size of Earth. The researchers explain, “These distant objects are like breadcrumbs leading us to Planet X. The more of them we can find, the better we can understand the outer solar system and the possible planet that we think is shaping their orbits – a discovery that would redefine our knowledge of the Solar System’s evolution”.