Goblin, the hidden Planet Nine, lurking in outskirts of our solar system?

Goblin, the hidden Planet Nine, lurking in outskirts of our solar system?

Goblin, the hidden Planet Nine, lurking in outskirts of our solar system?

Goblin has an elliptical orbit that brings it closer to the Sun but also flings it further away compared to other inner Oort Cloud objects like 2012 VP113 and Sedna.

The discovery gives further credence to the hypothesis that Planet X, which could be 10 times the size of Earth, could be influencing the orbits of objects like 2015 TG387 within the Kuiper Belt.

Sheppard, along with Northern Arizona University's Chad Trujillo and the University of Hawaii's David Tholen, spotted the Goblin in October 2015 when it was relatively nearby - around 80 AU.

Sheppard told Laboratory Equipment by email that the evidence so far shows that Planet X may be closer to "aphelion", its farthest orbital point from the sun, which may therefore explain why it remains to elusive.

Believed to possibly exist in the distant region known as the Oort Cloud, astronomers think its existence could provide an answer for numerous odd orbits observed in the solar system, including The Goblin.

A team led by astronomer Scott Sheppard from Carnegie University found the planet with the Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

If the data seems to point to Planet X's existence, why haven't we seen any tangible evidence of it yet?

2012 VP113 has the most distant orbit at perihelion, at just over 80 AUs.

Now, somewhat more importantly for our understanding of our solar system, a dwarf planet dubbed "The Goblin" has been discovered on its outer fringes.

"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", said David Tholen, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii.

A comparison of 2015 TG387 at 65 AU with the Solar System's known planets.

This means it takes up to 40,000 years to make a single orbit around the sun.

Astronomers came across the Goblin while hunting for Planet Nine - a planet larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune believed to be orbiting the sun deep into the solar system. "They can be used as probes to understand what is happening at the edge of our solar system". It is officially known as 2015 TG387 by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center. These orbits keep them from ever approaching the proposed planet too closely, similar to how Pluto never gets too close to Neptune even though their orbits cross. Further sightings by observatories in Arizona and Chile between 2015 and 2018 have confirmed its existence.

2015 TG387 is likely on the small end of being a dwarf planet, since it has a diameter of roughly 300 kilometers. "We believe there are thousands of dwarf planets in the distant solar system". Planet 9 would have to be large to shepherd the IOCOs, so discovering it is one of astronomy's holy grails. This suggests that there still is a massive super-Earth far far away from the Sun.

The team speculate that there could be thousands of small bodies like 2015 TG387 out on the fringes of the Solar System, but their distance make them hard to find.

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