Scott Sheppard Announces the Discovery of Most Distant Object in the Solar System

Friday, November 13, 2015 

Scott Sheppard announced the discovery of the most distant object ever found in our solar system, named V7741014, at the American Astronomical Society this week.

This object is three times farther away than Pluto, and is between 500 and 1,000 kilometers across. In another year, scientists will be able to lock down its orbit, which is believed to be part of a group of rare solar system objects, including Sedna and 2012 VP113, whose peculiar orbits point to the hypothetical gravitational influence of rogue planets or nearby stars. However, this dwarf planet could also join another more common club of icy worlds whose orbits take them closer to our Sun due to gravitational interactions with Neptune.

A moving blip in a forest of stars, V774104 was spotted last month by Japan's Subaru telescope in Hawaii by Sheppard and colleagues. (Subaru Telescope by Scott Sheppard, Chad Trujillo, and David Tholen)

“We can’t explain these objects’ orbits from what we know about the solar system,” says Sheppard to Science

Sheppard made this discovery with colleagues using Japan's 8-meter Subaru Telescope in Hawaii. 

Read more about their discovery in Science, "Astronomers spot most distant object in the solar system, could point to other rogue planets", by Eric Hand.

13 November 2015