SEP 14, 2016 9:03 AM PDT

The Solar System is Bigger Than Originally Thought, Astronomers Find

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

It’s no mystery that astronomers are on the hunt for a mysterious Planet Nine somewhere out in the far reaches of our Solar System that might be impacting the orbit of our inner-most planets, but the further and further astronomers search, the weirder things seem to get.
 

An artist's impression of a theoretical distant planet dubbed Planet X.

 Image Credit: Robin Dienel

Astronomers have realized that our Solar System is a lot larger than we thought it was just a couple of decades ago. In fact, the orbit around our Sun doesn’t stop at Pluto. It doesn’t even stop at the Kuiper Belt, which NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is currently exploring.
 
There are reportedly objects orbiting around our Sun at up to 200 times further away than we are, and this means that the beginning of interstellar space is actually much further away than we initially thought.
 
The findings of a research project that delve into the details of this mystery appear in The Astrophysical Journal.
 
Scientists are discovering strange smaller objects in the distant reaches of our solar system that we never thought could exist, and be searching for these smaller objects, and tracking their movements, we may one day discover where Planet Nine is residing, if there is one.
 
Since we have discovered very few of the objects at the very edge of our solar system, we know very little about them. From a first glance, they appear to have very extreme orbital paths.
 

 Image Credit: Robin Dienel

“Objects found far beyond Neptune hold the key to unlocking our Solar System’s origins and evolution,” Carnegie’s Scott Sheppard explained.
 
“Though we believe there are thousands of these small objects, we haven’t found very many of them yet, because they are so far away. The smaller objects can lead us to the much bigger planet we think exists out there. The more we discover, the better we will be able to understand what is going on in the outer Solar System.”
 
2012-VP113 is the most distant-known object in our solar system, announced in 2014. It’s 200 times further away from the Sun than we are, but mind bogglingly, it sill orbits our star because it’s stuck in a gravitational orbit.
 
Finding objects that far away is very difficult, because the Sun’s light doesn’t quite reach out well enough to make these objects shine. Instead, we’re searching the pitch black of outer space and fighting against the light from other stars in the background, which make these objects appear even dimmer than they already are.
 
Is there another large planet out there that’s influencing the orbit of these trans-Neptunian objects? Scientists think so, but we’re not quite there yet in terms of discovering one.
 
Source: Carnegie Science

About the Author
Other
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
OCT 18, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Have Discovered the Heaviest Element in the Atmosphere of an Exoplanet to Date
Astronomers Have Discovered the Heaviest Element in the Atmosphere of an Exoplanet to Date
In a new study published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, astronomers have discovered the heaviest element ever found in ...
NOV 18, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Can You Stand on This Star?
Can You Stand on This Star?
Polarized X-ray light from a magnetar has been observed for the first time ever and the results have been published in a ...
DEC 02, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Hunt For Dark Matter Gets Good News
Hunt For Dark Matter Gets Good News
In a recent study published in Physical Review Letters, an international team of researchers led by the Albert Einstein ...
DEC 13, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Astrobiology - How We Can Study Potential Life in the Universe
Astrobiology - How We Can Study Potential Life in the Universe
What is astrobiology? Breaking it down, you see the word “astro” and you immediately rel
JAN 11, 2023
Space & Astronomy
Binary Black Hole Pair Resolved in the Center of Nearby Galaxy Merger
Binary Black Hole Pair Resolved in the Center of Nearby Galaxy Merger
A team of astronomers have found a pair of supermassive black holes near the center of a newly forming galaxy. The black ...
JAN 16, 2023
Chemistry & Physics
Researchers Unwrap Heat Secrets of Sun's Corona
Researchers Unwrap Heat Secrets of Sun's Corona
In a recent study published in Science Advances, a team of researchers led by Princeton University have revealed the lon ...
Loading Comments...