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Astronomers discover most distant object in Solar System

Photo Credit: Carnegie Institution for Science
Astronomers stumbled across 2018 VG18 while looking for a planet on the fringes of the Solar System
by TR Pakistan

Astronomers have discovered an object in our Solar System which is 120 times farther from the Sun than the Earth. This makes it the most distant body ever observed within this Solar System. The object has been provisionally designated 2018 VG18, and nicknamed “Farout” for its distant location.

The discovery was made by Scott S. Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science, the University of Hawaii’s David Tholen, and Northern Arizona University’s Chad Trujillo.

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The discovery of Farout was followed by re-observations to confirm its distance. The object was monitored for a week with the Magellan telescope at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile for this purpose. It’s path across the sky, brightness and color were also documented. These observations also led astronomers to believe the object is 500 kilometers in diameter. It’s hue is pinkish, which is associated with celestial bodies with an abundance of ice.

“This discovery is truly an international achievement in research using telescopes located in Hawaii and Chile, operated by Japan, as well as by a consortium of research institutions and universities in the United States,” concluded Trujillo. “With new wide-field digital cameras on some of the world’s largest telescopes, we are finally exploring our Solar System’s fringes, far beyond Pluto.”

This discovery was the latest development in ongoing efforts to discover distant Solar System objects. In October, the same group of researchers announced the discovery of another distant Solar System object located 80 times as far from the Sun than the Earth called 2015 TG387 and nicknamed “The Goblin,” because it was first seen near Halloween. This research was prompted by the proposal of the existence of a ninth major planet on the edges of the Solar System in 2014 by the same research team when they discovered another object, 2012 VP113, nicknamed Biden.

Source: Carnegie Institution for Science

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