Newfound Dwarf Planet ‘The Goblin’ May Lead to Mysterious Planet Nine

Dwarf planet 'The Goblin' discovery redefining solar system

New extremely distant solar system object found during hunt for Planet X

Extremely distant dwarf planet, which was named the Goblin, was opened as a result of observations, changes the perception of the extreme limits of our Solar system.

The object is on the small end of being a dwarf planet, with a 40,000-year orbit - meaning it takes that long to go around the sun. Because in 99% of positions on its orbit the planet is too faint to be seen.

At its closest, the Goblin is 65 times farther from the sun than Earth, or 65 AU.

Most excitingly, the object's movements fit into previous theories regarding a possible "Planet X" hiding far away in our solar system, and could help astronomers to find it. Planet Nine has not yet been seen directly, but The Goblin appears to be under the gravitational influence of a giant unseen object, adding to astronomers' certainty that it is out there.

There are officially eight planets in our Solar System - yes, I know, Pluto was totally a planet, but not anymore - but that doesn't mean there isn't something lurking on the edge of our system that hasn't yet been spotted.

That's where Planet X - thought to be slightly smaller than Neptune, but much farther from the sun - comes in.

"These objects are on elongated orbits, and we can only detect them when they are closest to the Sun".

"We are very uniform in our sky coverage and can find all types of orbits, yet we seem to only be finding objects with similar types of orbits that are on the same side of the sky, suggesting something is shepherding them into these similar types of orbits, which we believe is Planet X", Sheppard said.

There's no doubt about it: the discovery of this far away dwarf planet is leading researchers closer and closer to finding out more than ever about what's in the furthest areas of the great beyond. "We are only seeing the tip of the ice berg", Sheppard said in an email.

Sheppard is not the only astronomer to propose that a putative planet, called Planet Nine or Planet X, lurks at the dark edge of the solar system.

Scott Sheppard said, '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. The planet is said to be around the same size as Uranus or Neptune, and can take anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 years to orbit around the Sun.

It's likely that 2015 TG387 is a dwarf planet the researchers said, because "it has a diameter near 300 kilometers (186.4 miles)".

In October 2017, Caltech planetary astrophysicist Konstantin Batygin, who worked with Brown, said that there are "five different lines of observational evidence" that point to the existence of Planet X.

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

The object with the most distant orbit at perihelion, 2012 VP113, was also discovered by Sheppard and Trujillo, in 2014. "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", Northern Arizona University's Chad Trujillo reports. This discovery is a step in the right direction for scientists' hunt for Planet X. "You can hide a very big thing in the outer solar system very easily".

The findings have been submitted to The Astronomical Journal.

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