Dwarf planet 'The Goblin' discovery redefining solar system

A look at the relative distance of 2015 TG387.                  Roberto Molar Candanosa  Scott Sheppard  Carnegie Institution for Science

A look at the relative distance of 2015 TG387. Roberto Molar Candanosa Scott Sheppard Carnegie Institution for Science

Brown, who is known best for his role in Pluto's demotion to the status of a dwarf planet and is leading his own search for Planet Nine, agreed.

It took the team three additional years to nail down The Goblin's orbit, which they did with the aid of observations by the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile and the Discovery Channel Telescope in Arizona.

Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science, one of the astronomers who made the discovery, said the Goblin is on the small end for 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".

Becker says astronomers have only found a handful of objects in addition to The Goblin that point to the existence of Planet Nine, so there is considerable skepticism that it's really out there.

TG387 is about 65 Astronomical Units (AU) away from the Sun.

The Goblin-formally known as 2015 TG38-sits more that twice as far from the Sun as Pluto does, even at its closest approach. Pluto, for comparison, is about 1,500 miles in diameter. It also reaches perihelion in a part of the sky similar to 2012 VP113, Sedna and other "extremely distant trans-Neptunian objects".

"These so-called Inner Oort Cloud objects like 2015 TG387, 2012 VP113, and Sedna are isolated from most of the solar system's known mass, which makes them immensely interesting", Sheppard explained.

The gravity of big planets like Jupiter or Neptune can sling smaller objects into weird orbits if they happen to wander by.

"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", added the University of Hawaii's David Tholen, a member of the research team. For 99% of its orbit, it would be too faint to see. "We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg right now".

Nicknamed "Planet Nine", the idea first emerged in 2014 when Dr Scott Sheppard and Professor Chad Trujillo sought to explain a unusual cluster of six small objects in the Kuiper Belt, a field of icy and rocky objects beyond Neptune.

At the very edge of our solar system, scientists have discovered a new, extremely distant object billions of miles beyond Pluto. The AP is exclusively responsible for all content.

If Planet X is found, many new questions in the scientific world would arise, such as where did it all come from or if there any possible signs of life.

'They can be used as probes to understand what is happening at the edge of our Solar System'. She says the current models of planetary formation that don't explain The Goblin could be wrong, but "an easier solution is the existence of Planet Nine, because it naturally creates these objects in the solar system".

These objects were first noticed in October, 2015, from a Japanese telescope atop Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano in Hawaii. A paper with the full details of the discovery has also been submitted to the Astronomical Journal. "We don't know exactly how big it is, but we think it's about 300 kilometers in size, which is about six or seven times smaller than Pluto".

It's far from definitive evidence, but it's yet another step towards discovering or debunking the myth of Planet Nine. But The Goblin doesn't get anywhere near Jupiter or Neptune, so some astronomers think Planet Nine might be out there doing the slinging.

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