Discussion:
OT true - Meet Farout, the Solar System’s Most Distant Minor Planet
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a425couple
2018-12-19 22:58:42 UTC
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from
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/meet-farout-solar-systems-most-distant-minor-planet-180971060/

(A great location for a new sci-fi story!)

Meet Farout, the Solar System’s Most Distant Minor Planet
Observations suggest the object is 300 miles in diameter, pinkish-red
and 3.5 times as far away from the sun as Pluto

image:
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Farout
An artist's conception of the view from Farout. (Roberto Molar
Candanosa, Carnegie Institution for Science)
By Jason Daley
SMITHSONIAN.COM
DECEMBER 18, 2018

Contrary to what simplified Styrofoam ball models of the solar system
from grade school taught us, our planetary neighborhood contains much
more than the sun and major planets orbiting it. There are tons of
asteroids, ice chunks and minor planets far beyond Neptune also orbiting
our favorite star. Researchers have now located the most distant object
seen yet: a minor planet they’ve temporarily dubbed “Farout.”

According to Sarah Lewin at Space.com, Farout—whose official name is
2018 VG18—was first spotted in November by researchers using the Subaru
8-meter telescope in Hawaii. Its existence was then confirmed using the
Magellan telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Those
observations show that the object is about 300 miles across and
spherical, making it a dwarf planet. Its pinkish color also suggests
that it is covered in ice. The celestial body was found about 120
astronomical units (AU) away, or 120 times the distance of the Earth to
the sun. For comparison, Pluto orbits at 34 AUs and Eris, the former
farthest observed object in the solar system, is 96 AUs away.

“All that we currently know about 2018 VG18 is its extreme distance from
the sun, its approximate diameter, and its color,” says David Tholen, a
researcher at the University of Hawaii, in a press release. “Because
2018 VG18 is so distant, it orbits very slowly, likely taking more than
1,000 years to take one trip around the Sun.”

Farout was discovered while researchers searched for the elusive Planet
X or Planet 9, a large planet believed to be orbiting the sun at the far
edges of the solar system that could explain some of the strange orbits
of minor planets and space rocks beyond Pluto. Farout, however, doesn’t
fit the bill.

“Planet X needs to be several times larger than Earth in order to
gravitationally push the other smaller objects around and shepherd them
into similar types of orbits,” co-discoverer Scott S. Sheppard from the
Carnegie Institution for Science tells George Dvorsky at Gizmodo.
“Planet X is also likely even further away, at a few hundred AU.”

Scientists aren't sure of Farout's exact orbital path yet. It could be
that gravity from a nearby large planet like Neptune tugs on it and it
will orbit toward the giant planet region of our solar system, says
Sheppard. However, if its orbit leads further outward and deeper into
space, it could mean Planet X has a hold on it.

While Farout is truly far out, Lewin at Space.com emphasizes that it’s
the farthest object we’ve observed. We know that other objects swing
even deeper into space, though we haven’t seen them in action. The orbit
of the dwarf planet Sedna, for instance, should take it 900 AUs away
from the sun. And it’s hypothesized that our solar system is surrounded
by a shell of rocky and icy objects between 1000 and 100,000 AUs away
called the Oort Cloud. But those objects are so far away, we haven’t
been able to catch a glimpse yet, though there are several comets that
astronomers believe may have journeyed from that distant edge of our
solar system closer to our own cosmic neighborhood.

About Jason Daley
Jason Daley is a Madison, Wisconsin-based writer specializing in natural
history, science, travel, and the environment. His work has appeared in
Discover, Popular Science, Outside, Men’s Journal, and other magazines.
Kevrob
2018-12-20 00:03:13 UTC
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Post by a425couple
from
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/meet-farout-solar-systems-most-distant-minor-planet-180971060/
(A great location for a new sci-fi story!)
"Encounter at Farout"....?

These are the adventures of the starship, "John Denver." :)
Post by a425couple
While Farout is truly far out, Lewin at Space.com emphasizes that it’s
the farthest object we’ve observed.
About Jason Daley
Jason Daley is a Madison, Wisconsin-based writer
Kevin R
Quadibloc
2018-12-20 19:59:48 UTC
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The article contains errors: "For comparison, Pluto orbits at 34 AUs and Eris, the
former farthest observed object in the solar system, is 96 AUs away."

What exactly is Sedna, chopped liver?

John Savard
J. Clarke
2018-12-20 20:13:07 UTC
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On Thu, 20 Dec 2018 11:59:48 -0800 (PST), Quadibloc
Post by Quadibloc
The article contains errors: "For comparison, Pluto orbits at 34 AUs and Eris, the
former farthest observed object in the solar system, is 96 AUs away."
What exactly is Sedna, chopped liver?
Last I heard, 86 was less than 96. Of course with the New Math and
all I might be mistaken.
Dan Tilque
2019-01-04 15:00:45 UTC
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Post by J. Clarke
On Thu, 20 Dec 2018 11:59:48 -0800 (PST), Quadibloc
Post by Quadibloc
The article contains errors: "For comparison, Pluto orbits at 34 AUs and Eris, the
former farthest observed object in the solar system, is 96 AUs away."
What exactly is Sedna, chopped liver?
They were not being exhaustive about all the distant objects out there.
Post by J. Clarke
Last I heard, 86 was less than 96. Of course with the New Math and
all I might be mistaken.
Currently Eris is further than Sedna, but going by the semi-major axis,
Sedna is much further on average.

One thing about this new object is that its orbit is less well known
than most such distant objects. That's because it's so dim that
apparently no precovery observations were found. Precovery observations
are found after an object is found and they go back to various images
made by other astromomers for that region of space (after adjusting for
the expected movement of the object). So that gives a much longer
baseline of observations to compute an orbit from. But this new object
is really dim, something like 24th magnitude, and most observation don't
last long enough to get that dim. So we only have about a month or so
worth of observations. Well, now it's a month and a half, but still not
the years they need.
--
Dan Tilque
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