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Scientists discover new dwarf planet 2012 VP113 or 'Joe Biden'

Joe Biden
Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images

According to a March 26, 2014 story in the Associated Press, astronomers at a telescope located in Chile have discovered a new dwarf planet orbiting the sun in the Oort Cloud 7 and a half billion miles distant. It is 280 miles in diameter and has been designated 2012 VP113 or, unofficially and jokingly, Dwarf Planet Joe Biden. This is pending a more official name, of course.

VP seems to be pink colored and has an average temperature of minus 480 degrees. It joins dwarf planets Sedna and Eris as likely one of many such bodies that dwell in the Oort Cloud, an area of asteroids, comets, and other bodies that mark the outer boundary of the Solar System. The planet has an eccentric, elongated orbit that will take it out to as much as 42 billion miles at its farthest point.

While the new dwarf planet is likely one of thousands that exist in the Oort Cloud, it is difficult to detect such bodies due to the great distances involved,. The discovery of VP is considered a fluke that may be difficult to repeat.