MessageToEagle.com – A distant dwarf planet, called 2012 VP113 was found beyond the known edge of the Solar System by scientists from Carnegie’s Scott Sheppard and Chadwick Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory, used the new Dark Energy Camera (DECam) on the NOAO 4 meter telescope in Chile.
Moreover, the study indicates the potential presence of an enormous planet, perhaps up to 10 times the size of Earth, not yet seen, but possibly influencing the orbit of 2012 VP113, as well as other inner Oort cloud objects.
The known Solar System can be divided into three parts: the rocky planets like Earth, which are close to the Sun; the gas giant planets, which are further out; and the frozen objects of the Kuiper belt, which lie just beyond Neptune’s orbit.
Beyond this, there appears to be an edge to the Solar System where only one object, Sedna, was previously known to exist for its entire orbit.
But the newly found 2012 VP113 has an orbit that stays even beyond Sedna, making it the furthest known in the Solar System.
“This is an extraordinary result that redefines our understanding of our Solar System,” says Linda Elkins-Tanton, director of Carnegie’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. Sedna was discovered beyond the Kuiper Belt edge in 2003, and it was not known if Sedna was unique, as Pluto once was thought to be before the Kuiper Belt was discovered.
With the discovery of 2012 VP113 it is now clear Sedna is not unique and is likely the second known member of the hypothesized inner Oort cloud, the likely origin of some comets.
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