The origins of the solar system have been debated for a long time with several theories, but the planetary and radio astronomers are going for a new project take on the issue – they chose to explore the dwarf planets from the Kuiper Belt, scattered so far that they are very hard to notice with the telescopes. Just recently, a new publication has come out of a discovery of a new “homeless” dwarf in deep space that may be orbiting the solar system. The calculated dwarf’s age was four billion years.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek and the Carnegie Institute for Science in Washington, the object’s diameter was one-eighth of the moon, and was made of icy chunks. The long hunt for these dwarfs started in 2003, when the first distant outer space dwarf Sedna was discovered. Since then, a number of them have been starting to get outlined, understanding that the Kuiper Belt is a large system of objects whose edge is still unknown.
The object was named 2012 VP113, the current most distant planet orbiting the solar system. The nickname of the planet is “Biden,” due to the VP abbreviation. Its location is between the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud, with the closest approach to the sun of 83 AU (astronomical units). To get a better picture of how far that is – the distance between the sun and the Earth is one AU, or 150 million kilometers, or 93 million miles. The distance between the sun and Neptune is 30 AU. The unusual elliptical orbit is nothing like the astronomers have seen before, due to the far distance. There is a current, seemingly never-ending list of questions – how was it formed? How did it get there? For how long has it been there?
There are no current answers. But what the scientists are aware of is that 2012 VP113 is moving them one step closer to uncovering the secret of the solar system origins. Chad Trujino, Head of Adaptive Optics at Gemini Observatory in Hawaii reported to CNN that the home of planet Sedna and 2012 VP113 is the inner Oort Cloud, where the comets come from. He previously discovered the outer planet Eris, which has its own moon, Dysnomia.
Why is logical for the Earth to be close to the sun? Chad Trujino commented that the reason why these smaller objects are so far away is due to the larger in mass planets like Mercury, Venus, Earth, Jupiter have been sucked in gravitationally. Because the dwarf planets are so small, they can’t become dominant.
They are hoping to find at least a dozen more of these objects. Mike Brown, a professor of the California Institute of Technology said that this discovery shows Sedna’s story, as being the one of the many dwarfs.
These revolutionary findings are changing the previous theories of the origins of the solar system, uncovering the secrets of the process from the beginning to the end of its formation. This is only the beginning of discovering the true shape of the Oort Cloud.
By Marija Makeska