Found at Edge of Solar System: 'The Goblin'

Carnegie Institution for Science

Scott Sheppard, of the Carnegie Institution for Science, explains that "most of it is found, and the more we understand the frontier of the solar system and the influence of a possible planet that, we think, shapes their orbit".

The researchers, including Sheppard, Northern Arizona University's Chad Trujilllo and the University of Hawaii's David Tholen, have also submitted a paper to the Astronomical Journal detailing their findings. Its perihelion (point in the orbit where ur is nearest to the Sun) is at about 65 AU, making it the third known object that has the most distant perihelion next to 2012 VP113 (80 AU) and Sedna (76 AU). For context, Pluto's distance is around 34 AU, so 2015 TG387 is about two-and-a-half times further away from the sun than Pluto is right now.

Thousands - even a million - more such objects could be way out there orbiting in the so-called Inner Oort Cloud, according to the researchers. As it travels along 99 percent of its orbit, 2015 TG387 is too far and too faint to be detected. Goblin's orbit is extremely elongated - so stretched out that it takes 40,000 years for it to circle the sun.

Tholen first observed 2015 TG387 in October of 2015 at the Japanese Subaru 8-meter telescope on Maunakea, Hawaii.

Confirming the orbit of 2015 TG387 required repeated observations, through May 2018, because the planet moves so slowly.

The new dwarf planet has a 40,000-year orbit and is located far away.

The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet on Tuesday, Oct. 2, announced a new extreme planet called 2015 TG387. 2015 TG387 can be seen moving between the images near the center, while the more distant background stars and galaxies remain stationary. She is nearly 2.5 times farther from the Sun than Pluto. Scientists have found mathematical evidence of a still-undiscovered planet at the edge of the Solar System and it explains the unique orbit of the objects in the Kuiper Belt.

Like the other objects found by Sheppard and his team on the edge of the solar system, the Goblin behaves in a way that is pushed into a similar orbit by some unseen force.

2012 VP113 has the most distant orbit at perihelion, at just over 80 AUs. However, instead of Planet X, scientists have now discovered a new dwarf planet they have dubbed "the Goblin". Since the planet was not spotted, it would meant that its actual size is probably much smaller, but this means that its gravitational pull would has to be inexplicably strong in order to influence dwarf planets like Goblin.

They were discovered in a region known as the Oort Cloud - the extended shell of icy objects that exist in the outermost reaches of the solar system.

"These distant objects are like breadcrumbs leading us to Planet X".

A figure from the study shows the orbit of 2015 TG387 and other distant objects in the Solar System. This behaviour is already seen with Pluto and Neptune, as Pluto never strays too close to the ice giant even though their orbits cross.

When Pluto was first discovered in 1930, many had the belief that a true 10th planet was lurking far beyond Pluto.

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