An artist's conception of a distant Solar System Planet X, which could be shaping the orbits of smaller extremely distant outer Solar System objects like 2015 TG387 discovered by a team of Carnegie's Scott Sheppard, Northern Arizona University's Chad Trujillo, and the University of Hawaii's David Tholen. For some 99 percent of their orbits, they are too distant and thus too faint for us to observe them. At its closest, it gets about two and a half times as far from the sun as Pluto.
Length of the semimajor axis of the orbit of the Goblin is about 1,200 astronomical units hence, the mean removal distance of the dwarf planet from the Sun exceeds the deletion of all other known objects. 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.
Credit: Illustration by Roberto Molar Candanosa and Scott Sheppard, courtesy of Carnegie Institution for Science. The Oort Cloud is a predicted bubble around our solar system far beyond Pluto, filled with trillions of icy bodies and the supposed birthplace of long-term comets. Dwarf planet Pluto, by comparison, is six times as wide.
"These objects are on elongated orbits, and we can only detect them when they are closest to the Sun".
Scientists said the object, which has been named 2015 TG387 and nicknamed "The Goblin", which they said provides evidence for the existence of Planet X. So it may come as a surprise to some that there is a potential new contender for the ninth planet, based on the discovery of another newly discovered celestial body with an amusing nickname.
"It took us three years to figure out that it has an interesting orbit", Sheppard said.
"This new object has the largest orbit of all the extremely distant objects that stay well beyond Pluto", Sheppard 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.
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'They can be used as probes to understand what is happening at the edge of our Solar System'. Just two, 2012 VP113 and 90377 Sedna have a perihelion (the point of an object's orbit closest to the sun) farther out than The Goblin, and its orbit actually takes it far beyond them at its most distant point.
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.
Sheppard and his colleagues continue their survey, the largest and deepest ever for distant solar system objects, by observing the northern and southern skies at all times of year.
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.
Researchers have spotted another distant dwarf planet in the outer solar system, and like the others it gives scientists more confidence that Planet Nine really does exist.
The findings were submitted for publication to the Astronomical Journal.
"When we put a hypothetical distant massive Planet X into our numerical simulations of the solar system, TG387 is still stable", he says.