Farout Is The Most Distant Object Ever Observed In Solar System

Posted: Dec 23 2018, 9:27am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Farout is the Most Distant Object Ever Observed in Solar System
Credit: Roberto Molar Candanosa and Scott S. Sheppard, Carnegie Institution for Science

This is the first time that an object has been detected more than 100 times farther than Earth is from the sun.

Astronomers have observed several objects at extreme distances from the Sun. But, for the first time, they have discovered an object that is more than 100 times farther away than Earth. The object 2018 VG18, nicknamed "Farout" is believed to be the most-distant known body in our solar system.

2018 VG18 was discovered about 120 astronomical units (AU) from sun. One AU is defined as the distance between the Earth and Sun. For context, Pluto is around 34 AU, so 2018 VG18 is more than three and a half times further away from the Sun than the popular dwarf planet is right now.

The new discovery is part of the ongoing search for extremely distant Solar System objects and was carried out by Carnegie's Scott S. Sheppard, the University of Hawaii's David Tholen and Northern Arizona University's Chad Trujillo. In October, the same group of researchers announced the discovery of another distant Solar System object "The Goblin,” which lies at a distance of about 80 astronomical units (AU) away from the Sun.

In the quest to find hypothetical Planet X in our Solar System, they also detected a distant body, called 2012 VP113, in 2014. Nicknamed Biden, the object is currently near 84 AU. The second-most-distant observed Solar System object is Eris, at about 96 AU.

“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," said Sheppard. "But it was found in a similar location on the sky to the other known extreme Solar System objects, suggesting it might have the same type of orbit that most of them do. The orbital similarities shown by many of the 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."

2018 VG18 was discovered by astronomers using Japanese Subaru 8-meter telescope located atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii on November 10, 2018. In early December, the object was observed again with the help of Magellan telescope at Carnegie's Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. However, the exact nature of Farout is still a mystery.

“All that we currently know about 2018 VG18 is its extreme distance from the Sun, its approximate diameter, and its color," said David Tholen "Because 2018 VG18 is so distant, it orbits very slowly, likely taking more than 1,000 years to take one trip around the Sun."

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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