Move over, Eris – a new distant world takes your record #V774104 @profmcateer

 sn-solarsystemobject

The title of “most distant object in the Solar System” has a new champion.

Astronomers have used  Japan’s Subaru telescope to reveal a new icy body at 15.5 billion km from the Sun. This is over 100AU, nearly three times further away than even far-flung Pluto. The previously recognized most distant object was the dwarf planet Eris, which resides at about 12 billion km. The new distant object – cataloged rather unimaginatively as V774104 – is probably the same size as New Mexico, and its orbit remains a mystery The dwarf planet could eventually join one of two clubs. If its orbit brings it closer to our sun, it would become part of a more common population of icy worlds that interact with Neptune. But if its orbit continues to sling it away from the sun, it could join a rare club with only two other known members, Sedna and 2012 VP113.

Those two bodies are both actually currently slightly closer in than Eris, but their orbits will reach far deeper into space, out to 66 billion km and 140 billion km, respectively. Such erratic orbits are difficult to explain. Indeed it unlikely there were formed in these particular orbits. Several existing theories propose differing origins. In one theory, these bodies were perturbed gravitationally by some other planet and pulled on to their strange trajectories. The passing planet would then have been expelled far out of the solar system. A second theory proposes that such objects could be stolen from a sister star that formed from the cloud of gas and dust as our Sun. A third theory proposes that gravitational forces acting on the solar system when the protosun was surrounded by other stellar nurseries, could have provided the necessary nudges.

And it has personal touch for one American scientist

From Science magazine

Mike Brown, a planetary astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena unaffiliated with the discovery, says that this is the allure of these extreme objects. “They carry the signature of whatever else happened,” he says. But until Sheppard pins down its orbit, V774104 may be interesting—or not, Brown says. “There’s no way to know what it means.” On the other hand, Brown acknowledges that he will have to give up the claim to having discovered the most distant solar system object, which came in 2005 when he found the dwarf planet Eris at a distance of 97 AU from the sun. “I have held the record for 10 years,” he says, jokingly. “I have to relinquish it. So I’m sad.”

And of course we should note that mankind is doing even better than V774104 – the Voyager 1 probe is even further away at 20 billion km from home and still going strong.

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14 comments on “Move over, Eris – a new distant world takes your record #V774104 @profmcateer

  1. Compared to other stars in the universe our star is relatively small. Even if we have a small star it doesn’t mean anything because we have planets in orbit 15.5 billion miles away! I couldn’t imagine the stars that have a mass 100x ours and the distance of some of the orbits they have.

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  2. Dang! This is impressive. It’s so interesting knowing that we are still constantly discovering new bodies in space, who knows where we will be in the next 10 years! I hope the body comes closer to orbiting the Sun. What a great addition to the Milky Way family!

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  3. With our technology updating so much, it makes it so much easier for us to explore & learn about so much more about universe. Crazy to think how technology has allowed us to do so much more

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  4. Just thinking about how much force the Sun has is amazing. I can only imagine how much more force larger stars have and what other things they have in other solar systems due to this. The more we can advance technology the better we will understand the Universe.

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  5. So, I had previously posted a reply and I can’t find it therefore I will reply again.

    It is truly amazing how far the science community has come. This article was exceptionally interesting because of the previous chapter we just read. I feel like I’ve truly learned something this semester! Because of my deeper understanding of astronomy I felt like I had a better grasp on how astounding this find really is!

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  6. I found this article really interesting especially because of our past chapter that we read. I feel like I have a deeper understanding of these terms and I feel like I have actually learned stuff this semester! Anyways, hope these planets don’t get too jealous of this new finding.

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  7. It’s awesome that science exceeds the naive separation of countries or ethnicity and bring people from all over the world together. Knowing how vast and big our universe is gives me perspective on how futile other things are.

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  8. I can’t even begin to imagine the force the sun has to be able to hold these object so far away into orbit with itself. Makes me stay up late at night thinking.

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  9. So, I’m assuming that V774104 is categorized as an exoplanet…? but wait, if its orbit remains a mystery then it’s not considered a exoplanet…yet. The universe continues to remain a mystery. This is what I love about astronomy, the informative parts that make you think. ?;^}

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  10. Mike Brown should’ve pushed his discovery 3 more AU’s maybe he could’ve discovered Eris and V774104 together at once and kept holding his record.

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  11. This is a very interesting article. I like the theory that these were stolen from a sister star. I can relate because I used to steal socks from my sister all the time.

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  12. The fact that gravity from our sun is able to keep these icy bodies in orbit from billions of kilometers away is incredible. Assuming that their orbits are extremely eccentric we know they are moving very slow because they are so far away. The question remains though is where is the boundary of our solar system and what does that look.

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  13. Its crazy to think about how much technology has impacted society today. With technology we are able to do amazing things such as this.

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