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Most Distant Solar System Object Possibly Identified: Dwarf Planet V774104

Image: Most Distant Solar System Object Possibly Identified: Dwarf Planet V774104
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By    |   Thursday, 12 Nov 2015 02:13 PM

Astronomers have identified what they believe is the most distant object in our solar system, a dwarf planet labeled V774104.

According to NPR, the planet is roughly 100 times farther than Earth is from the Sun, and is estimated to be up to 600 miles across. It is three times farther than Pluto is from the Sun.

The discovery was announced Tuesday at the 47th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences in National Harbor, Maryland. It was first discovered in mid-October by Scott Sheppard and colleagues using the Subaru telescope in Hawaii.

"Generally we're just randomly shooting [the telescope around the sky] for the most part, because we don't know where these objects might be," he said. "I remember I was flying back on the plane, looking through the data, and I remember when this popped up on the screen, my eyes opened up."

Previously, the most distant recognized object in the solar system was the dwarf planet Eris.

"The big question is whether [the orbit of] V774104 sweeps inwards from its present location, like Eris, or outwards, like the objects known as 2012 VP113 and Sedna," reported the BBC.

Generally speaking, astronomers frequently think about the solar system in three parts. First, the rocky planets like Earth; second, the gas planets like Neptune; and third; the Kuiper Belt, where Pluto resides among rocky and metal small bodies — similar to the asteroid belt.

V774104 is thought to reside in a fourth part of the solar system, the Oort cloud, a theoretical cloud of mostly icy planetesimals.

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Astronomers have identified what they believe is the most distant object in our solar system, a dwarf planet labeled V774104.
most distant, solar system, dwarf, planet
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2015-13-12
Thursday, 12 Nov 2015 02:13 PM
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