Astronomers discover distant dwarf planet
An extremely distant dwarf planet, named The Goblin, has been discovered in observations that are redefining the outer reaches of the solar system.
Astronomers made the discovery while hunting for a hypothetical massive planet, known as Planet Nine, that is suspected to be in orbit far beyond Pluto in a mysterious region known as the Oort Cloud. Planet Nine has not yet been seen directly, but The Goblin appears to be under the gravitational influence of a giant unseen object, adding to astronomers’ certainty that it is out there.
The newly discovered icy world, estimated to be just 300km across, is in an extremely elongated orbit. At its closest, it gets about two-and-a-half times as far from the sun as Pluto. Then it heads off to the fringes of the solar system, to almost 60 times further out than Pluto, taking 40,000 years to loop around the sun.
The object is the third minor planet to have been found in the outer solar system, following the discoveries of Sedna and, recently, another object called 2012 VP113.