The farthest known object in the solar system has now been confirmed. FarFarOut, a large chunk of rock found in 2018 at a whopping distance of about 132 astronomical units from the sun, has been studied and characterized, and we now know a lot about it and its orbit.
It is about 400 kilometers (250 miles) wide and located at the lower end of the dwarf planet’s scale, and initial observations indicate that it has an average orbital distance of 101 AU — 101 times the distance between Earth and the Sun.
Since Pluto’s average orbital distance is around 39 AU, FarFarOut is very, very far away. Awarded the interim designation 2018 AG37, And its name, according to the International Astronomical Union The guidelines, Still waiting.
However, this orbit is not a circle around the sun, but a really unbalanced oval. After careful observation, scientists calculated its orbit; FarFarOut oscillates up to 175 AU and comes in approximately 27 AU, within the orbit of Neptune.
This means that the body can help us better understand the planets of the outer solar system.
«FarFarOut was likely thrown into the outer solar system by getting very close to Neptune in the distant past,» Astronomer Chad Trujillo said From Northern Arizona University. «FarFarOut will likely interact with Neptune again in the future because their orbits are still intersecting.»
The object moniker evolved from the discovery of a distant object earlier in 2018.
The average orbital distance of the dwarf planet Farout is 124 AU, and it is named after an exclamation made by astronomer Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science. When he and his team discovered something further afield, progress was evident.
FarFarOut is still very mysterious. Since it is so far away, it is very faint and only noticeable Nine times Over two years. The team inferred its size based on its brightness, but we don’t know much else; It could be a large, irregularly shaped object in the Kuiper Belt, or it could meet the criteria for being classified as a dwarf planet.
Also, astronomers aren’t completely sure when it will spin. They think it could only be shy for 800 years (Pluto 248), but there’s so much room to maneuver that it takes more than twice that time, or maybe it’s moving at a much faster pace.
Therefore more observations should be made to understand it better.
«FarFarOut takes a thousand years to circle the sun once,» Astronomer David Tholin said From the University of Hawaii at Manoa. «For this reason, it is moving very slowly across the sky, requiring several years of observations to precisely define its path.»
Sheppard, Tullen and Trujillo are studying the outer solar system in hopes of getting a glimpse of Planet Nine, a hypothetical object believed to be responsible for the strange movement of groups of bodies in the outer extensions beyond Pluto.
There are other explanations for these orbitals, but the work has an excellent side benefit. The team discovered a number of things we did not know. There is Farout and FarFarOut of course. There is also a dwarf planet called The Goblin, which was detected at a distance of 80 AU.
There is even such a thing as 2014 FE72, Whose orbit takes its orbit farther than 3,000 astronomical units, and is the only known object of its kind whose orbit is completely outside Neptune’s orbit. (It’s currently much closer after approaching the sun In 1965.)
It’s not just the outer solar system, either. Researchers have discovered 12 previously unknown moons in orbit around Jupiter and 20 moons orbiting Saturn.
So if there was Planet Nine out there, those would likely be the ones who would find it. But in the process, they reveal a lot about the outer solar system.
«FarFarOut discovery demonstrates our increased ability to map the outer solar system and observe farther and farther away towards the edges of our solar system,» Sheppard said.
« It is only with the advancements that have occurred in the past few years of large digital cameras over very large telescopes that it has become efficiently possible to detect objects as far away as FarFarOut. Although some of these distant objects are very large — the size of dwarf planets — they are very faint due to their extreme distance. About the sun. FarFarOut is just the tip of the iceberg of objects in the very distant solar system. «