Astronomers reach breakthrough in mysterious 'Planet X' theory

Dwarf planet 'The Goblin' discovery redefining solar system

A previously unknown dwarf planet circles through the far reaches of our solar system, the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center announced Tuesday.

It took nearly three more years of observations to nail down The Goblin's oddball orbit, which ranges between 65 and 2,300 AU from the sun over the course of a 40,000-year circuit. For 99% of its orbit, it would be too faint to see. Pluto, meanwhile, is around 34 times as far from the Sun as Earth, so The Goblin really, really gets out there. The new extremely distant object far beyond Pluto has an orbit that supports the presence of a larger Planet X.

To put that in perspective, pretend that you could shrink the solar system so that the sun is in NY and Pluto lies in Los Angeles. He is the farthest from the Sun.

"This clustering can only be maintained if the solar system hosts an additional, yet unseen, super-Earth type planet", Batygin said, adding that he's "running code as we speak that evaluates how the inferred orbit and mass of Planet Nine are affected by this new object". Indeed, its highly elongated trajectory strengthens the theory that there is - and is waiting to be discovered - a pro-Earth or a ninth planet of our solar system, also known as Planet X. "We are only seeing the tip of the ice berg", Sheppard said in an email.

"These distant objects are like breadcrumbs leading us to Planet X", he continued.

It's believed to be 300km (186 miles) across, which puts it at the small end of qualifying as a dwarf planet.

"What makes this result really interesting is that Planet X seems to affect 2015 TG387 the same way as all the other extremely distant solar system objects", Trujillo, who's based at Northern Arizona University, said in the same statement.

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'They can be used as probes to understand what is happening at the edge of our solar system'. Astronomers first observed the dwarf planet in 2015, from the Subaru telescope at Hawaii's Mauna Kea Observatories.

The recently discovered dwarf planet officially named 2015 TG387 (and nicknamed "The Goblin") isn't Planet Nine (or Planet X, as it's often referred to). "This is not true if you just randomly placed small objects into the outer solar system, as they would mostly be unstable to a massive Planet X".

We will remind, scientists have confirmed that Mars life is possible. Opening Goblin indirectly confirms that this region may be a big planet - it is under the gravitational influence of a large object that is not visible yet.

The research is being led by the Carnegie Institution for Science, and People reports that it is the "largest and deepest survey ever conducted for distant solar system objects".

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.

Sheppard says that The Goblin's orbit fits exactly into their models of how distant objects should behave if Planet X exists, further bolstering the notion that another massive world may be hiding in our solar system. The researchers, including Sheppard, Northern Arizona University's Chad Trujilllo and the University of Hawaii's David Tholen, have also submitted a paper to the Astronomical Journal detailing their findings.

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