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Astronomers believe that they might have found a brand new dwarf planet outside of the orbit of Neptune.
It is said to be around one-quarter the size of Pluto and astronomers think that it could be just one of many thousands of objects that are at the edge of the Solar System and just waiting to be discovered.
Possible New Dwarf Planet Named 2010 JO179
Astronomers have named the new dwarf planet 2010 JO179 and it was located by the Pan-STARRS Outer Solar System Survey which was led by Matthew Holman and a team from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Massachusetts. They have made a paper on their discovery available.
The team seems to think that the object is around 800 to 900 kilometers span when measuring the brightness of it. Pluto is 2, 370 kilometers, for scale. What could be a dwarf planet is said to be around 78.3 astronomical units past the Kuiper Belt and 1 AU is equal to the distance between the Earth and Sun. Pluto is 39.5 AU and Neptune is 30.5 AU.
Newly Discovered Object Is Red In Color
The object seen by the scientists seems to have a red coloration and this seems to be a trait of the outer Solar System. MU69 has a color that is very similar and this is an object that is much smaller in the Kuiper Belt and one that the New Horizons probe is bearing down on at a rapid rate.
The 2010 JO179 is said to be round in shape and it completes a rotation in 30.6 hours. What the astronomers have found to be interesting is that the object is in a resonance of 21: 5 with Neptune. The team pointed out that the object had not been seen before due to the fact that it does orbit at an angle that is high, 30 degrees, when compared to the remainder of the Milky Way and so even though it is bright; it was out of the region of others who made searchers.
How Many More Objects Might Be Undetected?
This discovery is said to be of importance as it gives a hint that there might be many more objects that have not been noticed yet in the same region, more so when in a resonance with Neptune that is similar. The researchers have said that there are about 6,700 objects that measure over 100 kilometers in diameter.
It was said that while the object more than likely formed in the position that it is in currently in the Solar System. However, the researchers said that they would not discount the premise that it could have been captured into the current orbit. This would not be the only dwarf planet that had been found in the outer Solar System.
Last year astronomers located two objects with the names of 2015 RR245 and 2014 UZ224 and both of these objects were located beyond Neptune. Astronomers have said that they are still searching for Planet Nine within the region, but this is much larger.
It is thought that TNOs such as this are planetesimals that are left over when the Solar System was formed 4.6 billion years ago. Scientists believe that by finding them and being able to study them, the objects could give a lot more clues about our beginnings.