New Dwarf Planet May Be The Farthest One Yet

Posted: November 14, 2015 by oldbrew in Astronomy, exploration, News, solar system dynamics
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Strange orbits of some outer solar system bodies

Strange orbits of some outer solar system bodies

A newly found object may set a new record for the most distant dwarf planet in the solar system. The object, called V774104, lies about nine and a half billion miles from the sun, or two to three times farther away than Pluto.

V774104 is a little less than half Pluto’s size, and like Pluto it may move closer toward or farther away from the sun during its orbit, but those details of its motion cannot yet be determined.

“That’s pretty much all we know about it. We don’t know its orbit yet because we only just discovered it about two weeks ago,” astronomer Scott Sheppard, of the Carnegie Institution for Science and one of the co-discoverers of the new object, said in an interview with .

The finding is part of a larger hunt for objects in this cold, dark region beyond Pluto, where scientists think they can find clues about the early solar system.

Living beyond Neptune

Beyond the orbit of Neptune is a band of cold, icy bodies (including Pluto), called the Kuiper Belt. Pluto is about 3.67 billion miles from the sun, but regions of the solar system are more commonly talked about in “astronomical units” (AU), which is the distance from the Earth to the sun, or about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers). Neptune is, on average, 30.1 AU from the sun; Pluto orbits between 29 and 49 AU.

If the measurements of V774104 are correct, it currently lies 103 AU from the sun, which would place it in a region called the inner Oort Cloud. The Oort Cloud is a sphere of icy, rocky objects that wraps around the solar system.

The dwarf planet Eris orbits the sun in the inner Oort Cloud, at a distance that ranges from 37 to 97 AU. The dwarf planet Sedna, discovered in 2003, has an incredibly eccentric orbit, such that it can be anywhere between 76 AU and about 940 AU from the sun. Last year, Sheppard and Trujillo discovered an object similar to Sedna called 2012 VP113 that orbits between 80 and 452 AU from the sun.

Full report: New Dwarf Planet In Our Solar System May Be The Farthest One Yet
Sedna discoverer Mike Brown said years ago:
“Sedna shouldn’t be there”, Brown said. “There’s no way to put Sedna where it is. It never comes close enough to be affected by the Sun, but it never goes far enough away from the Sun to be affected by other stars.” Brown therefore postulated that a massive unseen object may be responsible for Sedna’s anomalous orbit.

  1. J Martin says:

    So Sedna shows that the sun and our solar system are part of a binary pair which would explain a few things. Need a good link.

  2. J Martin says:

    “So any planets or other objects within the Solar System do not appear to precess with respect to the Earth. The only objects that follow precessional movement are those outside the Solar System. If this is the case, then precession cannot be due to this top-like motion that the Lunisolar Theory dictates.”

  3. oldbrew says:

    J Martin: the binary theory is interesting as the majority of observed stars ARE binaries (apparently).

  4. Henry says:

    It was found by looking an average of 15° inclination from the solar ecliptic (apparently most large Kuiper belt objects found are closer than than that, like within 10°).

    looking there hasn’t been done much. Apparently because it’s considered known the solar system formed by accretion of a dust disk.

    hence their conclusion(?): “It could end up joining an emerging class of extreme solar system objects whose strange orbits point to the hypothetical influence of rogue planets or nearby stars,”

    not that I know anything, I am total amateur, but a bit of related theory about the accretion disk has recently been heavily contradicted. The exoplanet discoveries in the last year probably disprove the theory that the second batch of four planets are gas giants because of a “cold line”(?), ie the temperature of space during the accretion.

    I got curious about this topic & the various anomalies when I read MalagaBay

  5. J Martin says:

    So Earth’s precession as we have been led to believe may not exist and we now also have an explanation for why obliquity changes. That brings us back to this graph of obliquity versus proxy temperature over the interstitial. It would be nice if NASA would put a lander on Mars capable of resolving this fundamental question. Alternatively we may have both forms of precession just to complicate things, don’t know if there’s any evidence for that.

    But I guess in terms of human life spans we need to know when the next big downwards zigzag of the thin black line will occurr, the match of the two graphs suggest that next drop in temperatures will be a big drop taking us below the Maunder minimum.

  6. J Martin says:

    OB. Thanks, excellent link. In short, we can forget precession as a component of insolation and just need to consider obliquity and eccentricity. There could be hundreds of years before we get the next big drop, it will be interesting to see what cycle 25 brings. Landscheidt reckoned there was a bigger drop in 200 years time iirc.

  7. oldbrew says:

    At 103 AU (and moving) this dwarf planet is around the boundary of the heliosheath.

    ‘The heliosheath is the region of the heliosphere beyond the termination shock. Here the wind is slowed, compressed and made turbulent by its interaction with the interstellar medium. Its distance from the Sun is approximately 80 to 100 astronomical units (AU) at its closest point.’

  8. oldbrew says:

    J martn: ‘In short, we can forget precession as a component of insolation and just need to consider obliquity and eccentricity.’

    Not sure about that. What about perihelion precession?

    ‘The Longitude of Perihelion

    The perihelion and aphelion are precessing, advancing eastward along the ecliptic about 11 arcseconds per year in relation to the fixed stars. This is the difference in arcseconds between the sidereal year and the anomalistic year. At this rate, they will take about 114,000 years to make a complete revolution.

    ‘The perihelion is currently in the middle of Sagittarius. In the Pyramid Age, it was near the western edge of Sagittarius, its border with Ophiuchus (Figure 11). It and the Spring equinox, advancing westward about 50 arcseconds per year, move about 1 arcminute per year in relation to each other. At this rate, the time between coincidences of the perihelion and equinox is about 21,000 years. This interval, rather than the sidereal movement of the perihelion, is sometimes called the precession of the perihelion. It has been confused with the precession of the equinoxes.’