‘Farout’: Astronomers spot solar system’s farthest known object

Artist concept of 2018 VG18

"2018 VG18 is the first object found beyond 100 AU in our Solar System", Sheppard told Gizmodo. Or to put it in Big Lebowski terms: "It's far out, man; far f%^#ing out".

The discovery team gave it the provisional designation 2018 VG18, as well as a catchier nickname, Farout.

All that's known about Farout, at the moment, is its distance (120 AU), its size (around 500km across), and its colour (pink!). The dwarf planet Eris is now the second-farthest-out solar system object at a distance of 96 AU.

The first images of "Farout" were seen through the Subaru telescope in Hawaii, which is run by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. Farout is estimated to be 500 km in diameter and to take over 1,000 years to orbit the Sun.

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A team of astronomers has discovered a new dwarf planet in the outer reaches of the solar system that is almost four times farther from the sun than Pluto, making it the farthest known object in the system, officials said.

Farout was found using the Japanese Subaru 8-meter telescope on Hawaii's Mauna Kea in November. The team came across Farout as they were scanning the solar system for distant planets, including Planet X, a hypothetical planet that astronomers believe could explain the warped orbits of small objects beyond Neptune, officials said.

The discovery was made by Scott S Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC, David Tholen of the University of Hawaii and Chad Trujillo of Northern Arizona University.

The team, which included experts from other USA universities, was scanning the cosmos looking for the mysterious Planet X - the hypothetical additional planet lying beyond Neptune.

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"2018 VG18 is much more distant and slower moving than any other observed Solar System object, so it will take a few years to fully determine its orbit", said Scott S. Sheppard, of the Carnegie Institution for Science, who is one of the three astronomers credited with the discovery.

Farout is around 120 astronomical units away from the sun, which is roughly 17,950,000,000km, so even if you were driving at 110km/h, it would still take you almost 19,000 years to get there (including breaks). The Goblin's orbit suggested that it may be influenced by an as yet undiscovered large planet near the edge of the solar system. The telescope, made the first recordings of the "Farout", and from Japan, with a consortium of universities in the US and several research facilities.

In early December, the Magellan telescope spotted 2018 VG18 for the second time.

A team of scientists has discovered the farthest planet within our Solar System during their search for the legendary Planet Nine. A new wide-angle digital cameras are on some of the world's largest telescopes. For reference, Pluto is 34 AU away. In addition to Farout being so distant, Sheppard said that when he first saw the planet he shouted out loud: "far out!"

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The theoretical orbit of the theoretical Planet 9. When the team discovered "Farout", it took multiple nights of observing to determine its AU distance.

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