Scientists have recently noticed the farthest object ever observed within our solar system. The object is more than three times as far out from the sun as Pluto, and it is located more than 11 billion miles from the sun. The object also received a fitting name: “Farout”.
The discovery was announced on Monday by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center. The designation 2018 was given to this object. Farout appears as a faint pink dot of light in the distance.
At first it appeared as a small speck of light in images taken by the Japanese Subaru 8-meter telescope located atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Las Campanas Observatory in Chile observations finally confirmed the newly discovered object.
“Last month, we came across it moving very, very slow. Immediately we knew it was an interesting object,” said Scott S. Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science, one of the discoverers of VG18.
An interesting discovery
Since VG18 is so far from the sun, the gravity is also decreased. Therefore, it takes a lot more time for Farout to complete an orbit. It is difficult to tell whether its orbit is more elliptical or more circular. It will take more years for researchers to figure that one out.
The object is also 120 to 130 astronomical units from the sun. Scientists have never discovered a solar system object farther than 100 astronomical units. VG18 appears to be around 300 miles wide. And it is estimated that it needs 1000 years to complete a trip around the sun. Since the object is that large it should have enough gravity to attract dwarf planets.
When it comes to possible future discoveries, it appears that researchers aren’t worried about finding an object that is even further. Dr. Sheppard even came up with a name for it: “Dr. Sheppard said: “If it’s further out, we’ll name it Way, Way Out or something.”
Patrick Supernaw is the lead editor for Great Lakes Ledger. Patrick has written for many publications including The Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Patrick is based in Ottawa and covers issues affecting his city. In addition to his severe hockey addiction, Pat also enjoys kayaking and can often be found paddling the Rideau Canal. Contact Pat here