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
  • 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 05, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 05, 2019
Catastrophic Ancient Events Might Have Forever Changed Life-friendly Venus
There is plenty of evidence suggesting that Venus had a long history of being a habitable planet due to its abundance of water, plate tectonics, and amicab...
OCT 20, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 20, 2019
InSight Lander's Stymied 'Mole' On the Move Again
NASA’s InSight mission touched down on the Martian surface just under a year ago and has since deployed a suite of scientific instruments to investig...
DEC 08, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 08, 2019
SpaceX Just Resupplied the International Space Station Again
The International Space Station is poised to receive some much-needed new supplies and science experiments today, a feat made possible by a routine resuppl...
JAN 06, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 06, 2020
Physics in Peril? (Part III) - A Problem at A Cosmic Scale
It is safe to say that astrophysicist Edwin Hubble redefined the universe as we knew back in the early 20th century.  Not only did he found irrefutabl...
JAN 06, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 06, 2020
How Much Do You Know About Mars?
Humankind is getting closer to the ultimate goal of sending humans to Mars for scientific research, and then eventually colonization later down the line. B...
FEB 02, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 02, 2020
NASA Officially Retires the Spitzer Space Telescope
NASA is always sending spacecraft into space to explore the universe around us; be it the close-proximity stellar neighborhood of our own solar system or o...
Loading Comments...