Planet X: Search for Planet Nine Turns Up Dwarf Planet

Dwarf planet 'The Goblin' discovery redefining solar system

American astronomers have discovered a dwarf planet 2015 TG387 (Goblin) which is 80 times farther from the Sun than Earth.

It took nearly three more years of observations to nail down The Goblin's oddball orbit, which ranges between 65 and 2,300 AU from the sun over the course of a 40,000-year circuit.

"For over 99 percent of TG387's orbit, it would be too faint for us to detect it", Sheppard says.

The world, estimated to have a width of a couple of hundred miles, is now about 7.4 billion miles from the sun, or about 2.5 times farther away than Pluto.

The object has an orbit that hints at an even-farther-out "Super-Earth" or larger "Planet X" that could be lurking out there.

It took the team a few years of observations to obtain a good orbit for 2015T G387 because it moves slowly, over a large orbit, so it has a very long orbital period. But if they're not being tugged on by the planets we know about, that leaves the door open for interactions with objects we haven't yet discovered, like Planet Nine. "This is not true if you just randomly placed small objects into the outer solar system, as they would mostly be unstable to a massive Planet X".

Discovering Planet X would "redefine our knowledge of the solar system's evolution", he added.

The possible world joins the ranks of other relatively small objects in its part of space.

The findings were submitted for publication to the Astronomical Journal.

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The discovery images of 2015 TG387 taken at the Subaru 8-meter telescope located atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii on October 13, 2015.

This discovery astronomers have made when looking for the ninth planet in the Solar system that may be in the Oort cloud is a poorly known region, which accumulates a lot of comets. This planetary harmony was first picked up on by Sheppard and collaborator Chad Trujillo in 2012, when they discovered 2012 VP113, but subsequent discoveries have only bolstered their theory. That's where Planet X comes in.

The theoretical Planet Nine is based on the gravitational pull it exerts on these bodies, with astronomers confident it will be found in the coming years.

According to what the RES reported, "2015 TG387" is estimated to be about 300 kilometers in diameter, so it probably should be considered a planet dwarf.

Planet X is thought to be four times the size of earth.

The weird orbits of those worlds are consistent with the hypothesis that a distant planet larger than Earth, known as Planet Nine or Planet X, is exerting its gravitational influence.

The existence of Planet X was first seriously proposed in 2014 by Sheppard and Trujillo, to potentially explain oddities in the orbits of 2012 VP113, Sedna and a few other trans-Neptunian objects. But that's all they can really say about The Goblin's physical characteristics.

"These simulations do not prove that there's another massive planet in our solar system, but they are further evidence that something big could be out there", he said.

"We think there could be thousands of small bodies like 2015 TG387 out on the solar system's fringes, but their distance makes finding them very hard", said the University of Hawaii's David Tholen, a member of the research team. But The Goblin doesn't get anywhere near Jupiter or Neptune, so some astronomers think Planet Nine might be out there doing the slinging. "These things have been twisted out of the solar system plane with help from Planet Nine and then scattered inward by Neptune".

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