Astronomers have discovered a new pink planet at the far outer edge of our solar system. The small frozen planet is seven and a half billion miles from the sun.
The small planet is located in the area of space beyond Pluto that astronomers have long thought to be a celestial wasteland. The newly discovered pink planet is the second one found in that area.
The other planet in the area was found in 2003 considered to be a “freak” occurrence. It was named Sedna after the mythological Inuit goddess who created the sea creatures of the Arctic.
Yale University senior research scientist, David Rabinowitz said of the latest discovery, “Sedna is not a freak. We can have confidence that there is a new population to explore.”
The new planet, currently referred to as 2012 VP113 has been tracked by Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution of Science in Washington, D.C. Sheppard used a new type of camera that was on a ground telescope in Chile.
The second man involved with the tracking of 2012 VP113 was Chad Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii. Mr. Trujillo was also a member of the team that discovered Sedna.
Just like Sedna, VP is a dwarf planet and had earned the nickname “Biden” after Vice President Joe Biden. The nickname came about because of its initials, VP.
VP measures 280 miles across which is only half the diameter of Sedna and its average temperature is around minus 430 Fahrenheit making it extremely cold. To give you a comparison for size, the Earth is 7,900 miles across and is 90 million miles from the sun.
The two small planets, Sedna and VP are located in what astronomers call the inner Oort cloud in the outer edge of the solar system. Some comets like the Comet ISON are thought to be originated in the inner Oort cloud.
An astronomer at the California Institute of Technology, Mike Brown stated, “Finding Sedna so far away seemed odd and potentially a fluke. But this one is beginning to make it look like that might be a typical place for objects to be. Not at all what I would have guessed.”
VP is at least for the moment, the third farthest object in the solar system behind Eris and Sedna. It has an elongated orbit that can take it 42 billion miles from the sun. Sedna’s orbit on the other hand can take it 84 billion miles from the sun.
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