August 1, 2021

Pluto is not so alone

Pluto is not so alone


A US team of researchers has discovered a celestial body that is two and a half times farther from the Sun than Pluto, located at the end of the Solar System, according to a study published in the specialized magazine Astronomical Journal.

The new found object, called 2015 TG387, has an orbit that suggests the existence of an even more distant and larger planet, although it has not yet been demonstrated, according to one of the main authors, Chad Trujillo, of the University of Northern Arizona. (USA.).

The 2015 TG387 was discovered at about 80 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun, a measure defined as the distance between Earth and this star.

To put that data in context, Pluto is around 34 AU, so 2015 TG387 is currently about two and a half times farther from the Sun than the dwarf planet.

"The new object is in a very long orbit and never approaches the Sun, that is, it is at a point called perihelion, located around 65 AU. Only 2012 VP113 and Sedna, at 80 and 76 AU, respectively, have a more distant orbit, "the researchers described.

However, although the 2015 TG387 has the third most distant perihelion, its orbital axis is larger than that of 2012 VP113 and that of Sedna, which means that it travels "much farther from the Sun than them", reaching up to approximately 2,300 AU. at its furthest point.

In this way, 2015 TG387 has become one of the few known objects that never gets close enough to the giant planets of the Solar System, such as Neptune and Jupiter, to have significant gravitational interactions with them.

«These objects are isolated from most of the known mass of the Solar System, which makes them immensely interesting», explained another of the principal investigators, Scott Sheppard, of the Carnegie Institution for Science.

The object was discovered as part of the search for unknown dwarf planets and Planet X, also known as "Planet Nine", a world not yet discovered that could have a mass about 10 times greater than Earth.

According to NASA, "the existence of this distant world is only theoretical at this point and no direct observation of the object has been made."

"What makes this result really interesting is that Planet X seems to affect the TG387 2015 in the same way that all other objects in the Solar System are extremely distant. These simulations do not show that there is another massive planet in our Solar System, but they are additional evidence that something big could be out there, "Trujillo concluded. EFE

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