Comprehensive coverage

The most distant object in the solar system has been discovered (when it bypasses Sadna in part of its orbit) * Researchers: It is possible that there are objects at the edge of the solar system larger than the Earth

"The discovery of 2012 VP113 showed us that the outer regions of the solar system are not as empty a desert as we thought until now," said Chadwick Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii, one of the partners in the discovery

2012 VP113, the most distant object in the Solar System, as of March 2014, as seen in successive observations two hours apart on November 5, 2012. The findings were published on March 27, 2014 in Nature
2012 VP113, the most distant object in the Solar System, as of March 2014, as seen in successive observations two hours apart on November 5, 2012. The findings were published on March 27, 2014 in Nature

The solar system today gains a new member, the most distant yet.
Scientists using ground observation data believe they have discovered the most distant object at the edge of the solar system. The observations of 2012 VP113, likely a dwarf planet, were funded by a NASA grant. A planet is an object in orbit around the Sun that is large enough that its own gravity would make it spherical or at least close to it.
The detailed findings are published today (27/3) in the journal Nature.

"This discovery adds the most distant address yet in the dynamical map of the Solar System," says Kelly Fast, of the Planetary Astronomy Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "While the very existence of the inner Oort cloud is a matter of conjecture, the finding can help provide feedback on how it might have formed.

The observation team was headed by Chadwick Trujillo from the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii and Scott Shepherd from the Carnegie Institution in Washington. They used telescopes in Chile (with a diameter of 4 and 6.5 meters respectively). Operated jointly by the US National Science Foundation, the European Space Agency and other partners and the Carnegie Institution's Magellan Observatory, also in Chile. The observations allowed them to determine the orbit of 2012 VP113 and obtain detailed information about its surface features.

"The discovery of 2012 VP113 showed us that the outer regions of the solar system are not an empty wasteland as we thought until now," said Trujillo, the lead researcher on the paper. "Instead, we discover only the tip of the iceberg which suggests to us that there are many objects in the inner Oort cloud waiting to be discovered. This also illustrates how little we know about the most distant parts of the solar system and how much remains to be discovered."

In the solar system there are rocky planets like Earth, which are close to the sun, there are the more distant gas giants as well as icy objects in the Kuiper belt, which extends beyond the orbit of Neptune-Rahab. Beyond that, the most distant object appears to be an object slightly smaller than Pluto, called Sedna, which occupies its entire orbit, but 2012 VP113 has an orbit that causes it to move away from Sedna some of the time, making it the most distant object in the solar system.

Sadna, one of the first bodies to be included in the category of dwarf planets and which also dragged Pluto with it despite public protests, was discovered in 2003 and it was not clear if it was unique as Pluto was the only known object in the Keiper belt when it was discovered in 1992. With the discovery of 2012 VP113, Sadna already is not unique, and 2012 VP113 is the second member of the hypothetical Oort cloud. The outer Oort cloud is likely the source of some comets.

"The search for distant objects in the inner Oort cloud beyond the workshop and 2012 VP113 should continue because they tell us how the solar system formed and evolved," Shepherd said.

Shepherd and Trujillo estimate that there are 900 objects like Sadna and 2012 VP113 that are at least a thousand kilometers in diameter. 2012 VP113 is likely one of hundreds of thousands of objects that populate the region of our solar system in the region attributed to the Fainian Oort Cloud. The size of the inner Oort cloud population is probably larger than that of the Kuiper belt and the main asteroid belt.

"Some of these objects can rival the size of Mars or even Earth," Shepherd said. This is because many of these objects are so distant that even large objects would be too faint to be detected with current technology."

The distance of 2012 VP113 from the Sun is about 80 astronomical units (one astronomical unit is the average distance between the Earth and the Sun - 150 million kilometers). This is a greater distance than most of the known objects in the solar system that are scattered up to a distance of about 50 astronomical units with the exception of Sadna which is 76 astronomical units away.

Both Sadna and 2012 VP113 were discovered near the closest point to the Sun, but both have orbits that bring them hundreds of astronomical units away—distances where they would be too blind to be detected. The similarity in the orbits of these two objects and of several dwarf planets located near the edge of the Kuiper belt, led the scientists to estimate that the new object may be influenced by the existence of a large planet that has yet to be discovered - perhaps 10 times the size of Earth. Searches in the depths of space will continue.

 

For information on the NASA website

5 תגובות

  1. Amit,
    Your question is more complex than you think... there are a lot of factors that we lack in order to be able to answer this question properly.
    The question first of all is whether life on that planet is similar to life on our planet - as much as we "guess" (don't know, since we have no other example), life on another planet will be like ours, carbon-based, on a planet at a suitable distance from the Sun to allow liquid water...
    Assuming they are like us, then the Earth will attract their attention, but so will Venus and Mars, which are also in the "zone of life" from the Sun.
    The question is also how advanced they are and whether they have technology and knowledge that we still don't have to collect information on Earth, such as huge space telescopes.
    But already today we were able to see elements in the atmosphere of a planet in another system (through the light of the sun passing through the atmosphere, then a spectrographic analysis of the light), and the density of the star can be calculated, based on which we know that there is a possibility that it is mostly water and rocky (as we suspect in certain planets outside the solar system)…

  2. Question - sometimes I read about a planet that is rocky or made of ice that was discovered tens/hundreds/thousands of light years away from us..
    Let's say that an article of the type "A planet that may contain life has been discovered" is published in another world and refers to the discovery of our earth.. What will the article look like - that is, what will be written? A solar system was discovered in which the third star from it could contain life.. Is it mostly made of water? How will the earth look to the inhabitants of a world so far away from us?

  3. Another reader
    These are relatively very distant objects and therefore very dark. When you "see" distant planets, what you see is their influence on their sun - and not the planets themselves.

  4. "..led the scientists to estimate that the new object may be influenced by the existence of a large planet that has yet to be discovered.."
    Sorry for the ignorance - but, how is it possible that an object that is maybe 10 times the size of the Earth has not been discovered until now?

  5. My father had another discovery, they discovered an asteroid that has rings... the asteroid is from a place in the sea of ​​Saturn to Uranus.. some discoveries 🙂

Leave a Reply

Email will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismat to prevent spam messages. Click here to learn how your response data is processed.