Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known Orbit in the Solar System
Posted on 04/01/2014 5:37:49 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Explanation: What object has the furthest known orbit in our Solar System? In terms of how close it will ever get to the Sun, the new answer is 2012 VP113, an object currently over twice the distance of Pluto from the Sun. Pictured above is a series of discovery images taken with the Dark Energy Camera attached to the NOAO's Blanco 4-meter Telescope in Chile in 2012 and released last week. The distant object, seen moving on the lower right, is thought to be a dwarf planet like Pluto. Previously, the furthest known dwarf planet was Sedna, discovered in 2003. Given how little of the sky was searched, it is likely that as many as 1,000 more objects like 2012 VP113 exist in the outer Solar System. 2012 VP113 is currently near its closest approach to the Sun, in about 2,000 years it will be over five times further. Some scientists hypothesize that the reason why objects like Sedna and 2012 VP113 have their present orbits is because they were gravitationally scattered there by a much larger object -- possibly a very distant undiscovered planet.
(Excerpt) Read more at 188.8.131.52 ...
[Credit: S. S. Sheppard (CIS) & C. Trujillo (Gemini Obs.), NOAO]
Such a distant object must surely have a very, very slow orbital speed, to prevent it from escaping.
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I think it’s set to cycle just the one time.
But it’s a BIG cycle! LOL.
FYI - the “VP” part of the name is there to honor Biden
I suppose they do, but how do they REALLY know that it’s OUR Sun the object is orbiting around, given how far away it is. Probably a stupid question; just sort of thinking out loud.
The stars... like dust.
How many billions or trillions of stars in infinity?
No, the VP part of the name denotes when it was found and in what order. V means it was discovered in the first half of November 2012 (though this doesn’t correspond to the earliest observation; after discovery astronomers will use the orbit information to go back through old data to see if they missed it in images taken years before). P113 is the order in which it was discovered within that timeframe. Here is the information about the systematic naming system:
Because it happened to be VP113, the nickname they gave for it was “Biden” because he is the current VP. That it happened to be VP was just random and has to do with the order in which it was discovered. It could have just as easily been V followed by any letter.
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