The dwarf planet Sedna gets more than 900 AU away on its highly elliptical orbit, for example, and there are probably trillions of comets in the Oort Cloud, which lies between about 5,000 AU and 100,000 AU from the sun.
A team of astronomers recently spotted the farthest-known object in the solar system using a telescope atop Hawaii's lofty Mauna Kea, and announced the discovery on Monday. - Scott Sheppard, Carnegie Science Institute. Farout is one such unexpected prize from the the search. "So this wasn't a serendipitous discovery as it is exactly what we are looking for, for Solar System objects that are way-way out there, far beyond Pluto". "Farout" is located at approximately 120 astronomical units (AU). This means that these extremely distant objects can be probes of what is happening in the Solar System's outer reaches.
"All that we now know about 2018 VG18 is its extreme distance from the Sun, its approximate diameter, and its colour", said the University of Hawaii's David Tholen.
1 AU is measured as the distance between the Earth and the Sun and equal to 150 million kilometres. "But it was found in a similar location in the sky to the other known extreme solar system objects, suggesting it might have the same type of orbit that a lot of them do". The team came across Farout as they were scanning the solar system for distant planets, including Planet X, a hypothetical planet that astronomers believe could explain the warped orbits of small objects beyond Neptune, officials said. The object was re-observed in early December with the Magellan telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile.
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Planet X's existence has been inferred because of a pattern of eccentricities seen in the orbits of other objects on the solar system's edge.
'It was found in a similar location on the sky to the other known extreme Solar System objects, suggesting it might have the same type of orbit that majority do, ' explained Scott C Sheppard from the Carnegie Institution of Washington, who discovered it. It has a pinkish hue, a color generally associated with ice-rich objects.
Farout is around 120 astronomical units away from the sun, which is roughly 17,950,000,000km, so even if you were driving at 110km/h, it would still take you almost 19,000 years to get there (including breaks).
Trujillo hailed the global nature of the discovery, which involved telescopes in Hawaii and Chile owned and operated by Japan, and researchers based in the US. If VG18 is indeed that large, it would likely be massive enough for gravity to pull it into a round shape and fulfill the definition of a "dwarf planet", the same category that includes the asteroid Ceres and the former planet Pluto. In October 2018, the same group of researchers found 2015 TG387 that was later nicknamed "The Goblin," since it was first seen near Halloween. In their paper, the two astronomers say that the orbits of these distant dwarf planets are clustered in such a way that it can't be an accident. Where will Farout's orbit fit in? But if it looks like it fits in with the others, that will be even more compelling evidence for the existence of the elusive Planet 9.