Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dwarf planet discovered at solar system's edge

For anyone holding out hope of Pluto being reinstated as a major planet, you should probably do as they say in the movie "Frozen" and "let it go."
But here's a new exciting find from the far reaches of our solar system: Astronomers have discovered a dwarf planet that's even farther away than Pluto -- so far, in fact, that its orbit reaches into a new edge of the solar system.
The dwarf planet's current name is 2012 VP113, and it is located in a "wasteland or badland of the solar system," said astronomer Chad Trujillo, head of adaptive optics at Gemini Observatory in Hawaii and co-discoverer of this object. His study was published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
"The big question is, how is this formed? How can you get an object out there?" he said. "We really don't know an answer to that yet."
This dwarf planet is unusual because of its orbit, Trujillo said. On its elliptical path, the closest it ever comes to the sun is still very far away from the rest of the solar system. Its full orbit is farther than the orbit of any other object we know of in the solar system. Read More