Not only have experts discovered a new world on the outermost reaches of our solar system, they believe that the newly-found world could help us find the elusive world dubbed as Planet X.
There may be a massive Super-Earth at the edges of our solar system after all, as astronomers spot a massive, mysterious object (dwarf planet) located 2.5 times further away from the sun than Pluto.
The discovery of the object indicates that Planet X is definitely orbiting our sun, say, experts.
According to reports, the discovered object is one of the most distant bodies ever found within our Sun’s gravitational range.
Astronomers explain that discovering this distant object means that there is enough evidence to support various theories that suggest there is a huge, rocky world, up to ten times bigger than our planet, located somewhere on the outskirts of our star system.
The discovery of the distant object (dubbed the Goblin) officially called 2015 TG387 Leleākūhonua was detailed in a study submitted to the Astronomical Journal. The enigmatic object takes around 40,000 years to complete one orbit around the sun.
David Tholen, from the University of Hawaii, who also participated in the study, said:
“We think there could be thousands of small bodies like Leleākūhonua out on the Solar System’s fringes, but their distance makes finding them very difficult.”
“Currently, we would only detect Leleākūhonua when it is near its closest approach to the Sun. Then, for some 99 percent of its 40,000-year orbit, it would be too faint to see.”
The lead author of the new study Scott Sheppard believes that the Goblin is just one of the thousands of extremely distant objects with massively elongated orbits located beyond the orbit of Pluto.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Sheppard said in an interview.
Based on the orbit of the Goblin and that of other objects beyond Pluto, there is evidence to suggest that a massive body influences the trajectory of smaller objects beyond the orbit of Pluto.
“These distant objects are like breadcrumbs leading us to Planet X,” Sheppard said in a statement.
And while we now know the Goblin is one of many objects located beyond the orbit of Pluto, we still don’t know what exactly it is made of since experts were not able to use a spectrometer to study, meaning that we can only guess its composition.
But despite knowing very little about the new object, it tells us a lot about planet X, aka planet nine.
Professor Chad Trujillo of Northern Arizona University ran several computer simulations for different hypothetical Planet X orbits that explained how 2015 TG387–the Goblin– would actually be shepherded by its gravity.
“What makes this result really interesting is that Planet X seems to affect Leleākūhonua the same way as all the other extremely distant Solar System objects, said Professor Trujillo.
“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.”
Scientists aim to map the orbits of these smaller, distant objects in our solar system, hoping that this way, they will figure out where Planet X is hiding in the sky.
The NASA Planetary Astronomy grant NNX15AF44G funded this research.
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