Published: Thu, October 04, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Weird Goblin planet found on the edge of solar system

Weird Goblin planet found on the edge of solar system

It's thought that the dwarf planet could be one of many unknown worlds in this remote and mysterious region of space. Meet the Goblin. Formerly known as 2015 TG387, the Goblin gets its name from being discovered around Halloween 2015.

There is still no sign of the elusive Planet X, but astronomers have stumbled across Goblin along the way.

Dwarf planet 2015 TG387, or Goblin, has an orbit that takes it much further from the Sun than other Inner Oort Cloud Objects Sedna and 2012 VP113.

The object is on a very elongated orbit and never comes closer to the Sun, a point called perihelion, than about 65 AU, according to researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science in the US. Further sightings by observatories in Arizona and Chile between 2015 and 2018 have confirmed its existence.

2015 TG387, announced by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center, was discovered about 80 astronomical units (AU) from the sun. The University of Hawaii's David Tholen said, "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". After that discovery they noticed similarities in the orbits of several extremely distant Solar System objects.

Astronomers have discovered a new object at the edge of our solar system.

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For now, the discovery of 2015 TG387 is simply awesome in itself, as we search the night sky for the edge of our solar system and the wonderful object which lie out in the deep dark cold of the solar system!

Scott Sheppard, from the Carnegie Institution for Science, said of the Goblin, "Every small object we find that is isolated like this will bring us closer to finding the planet". There are probably many more of these objects out there, but they're hard to detect due to their distance.

"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", Tholen said. Its orbit has a larger semi-major axis than both 2012 VP11 and Sedna, so it travels much farther from the Sun, out to 2300 AU.

"We are only just now uncovering what the very outer solar system might look like and what might be out there", said Scott Sheppard of the research team.

"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. For some 99 per cent of its 40,000-year orbit, it would be too faint to see", he said.

There are officially eight planets in our solar system - yes, I know, Pluto was totally a planet, but not anymore - but that doesn't mean there isn't something lurking on the edge of our system that hasn't yet been spotted.

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