Astronomers spot most distant object in solar system

Astronomers have discovered a mysterious dwarf planet that is three times farther away than Pluto and believed to be the most di
Astronomers have discovered a mysterious dwarf planet that is three times farther away than Pluto and believed to be the most distant object in our solar system

Astronomers have discovered a mysterious dwarf planet that is three times farther away than Pluto and believed to be the most distant object in our solar system.

The discovery of the dwarf planet known as V774104 was announced Tuesday at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society near the US capital and could indicate the presence of more rogue planets in our celestial neighborhood.

The dwarf planet currently sits 15.4 billion kilometers (9.6 billion miles) from the Sun.

It is believed to be between 310 and 620 miles across.

Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, announced the discovery and said its orbit remains unknown, for now.

"It could end up joining an emerging class of extreme solar system objects whose strange orbits point to the hypothetical influence of rogue planets or ," said a report in the journal Science.

The discovery was made using Japan's eight-meter (25 feet) Subaru Telescope in Hawaii.

The dwarf planet lies at a distance of about 103 astronomical units (AU) away from the Sun. One AU is the distance between Earth and the Sun.

Previously, the most distant solar system object was announced in 2005—a named Eris that was 97 AU from the Sun.

"The discovery of V774104 is more proof that the solar system is bigger than we thought," said Joseph Burns, professor of engineering and astronomy at Cornell University.

"We need a little more time to pin down the orbit and determine the object's exact size, but it must be big to see it at this distance."


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Journal information: Science

© 2015 AFP

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Nov 12, 2015
Bad title and lede. That object is currently a mere 103 au away. We know of at least 3 objects more distant - Voyager 1 @ 133 au, Voyager 2 @ 108 au, and Pioneer 10 @ 107 au.

And if gravitational influence sets the boundary of the solar system, then bound comets of the Oort cloud has a claim of being more distant solar system objects.

Nov 12, 2015
Bad title and lede. That object is currently a mere 103 au away. We know of at least 3 objects more distant - Voyager 1 @ 133 au, Voyager 2 @ 108 au, and Pioneer 10 @ 107 au.

Well, none of these can be spotted at this time. So the title is...erm...spot on.

Nov 12, 2015
I agree with Torbjorn, and the sentence "believed to be the most distant object in our solar system" is doubtful and sensationalist, even referring only to dwarf planets.

Nov 12, 2015
None of those artificial satellites are a part of the solar system - ie. they do not orbit the sun. Also, no claim was made that this is the most remote body in our solar system, it is only the most remote object that has been discovered to date. Still, the title is misleading on that account.

Incidentally, other sources imply the existence of an as yet undiscovered massive rocky planet which exerts gravitational influence on anomalous objects like this one. That furthers the case for the existence of Planet X.


Nov 13, 2015
"It could end up joining an emerging class of extreme solar system objects whose strange orbits point to the hypothetical influence of rogue planets or nearby stars,"


Or nearby SM black hole. I have thought this for sometime now, that we are part of a binary system and that the other star has collapsed into a black hole. It would help explain the orbits of these distant dwarfs (sedna included), and also why we can't find any "planet x" to account for them.

Nov 15, 2015
"Or nearby SM black hole"

Just from general black hole observations (https://en.wikipe...k_hole), the binary star would need to have 5x or more of the Sun's mass. I feel like we'd notice such an object's gravitational pull on nearby systems (and even our own solar system) much more than a few dwarf planets 100 AU skewed out that direction. Thoughts?

(I assume by SM you mean stellar-mass black hole, not supermassive... because that'd make no sense)

Nov 15, 2015
@ matt_s
Stellar parallax measurement rule this out.

Nov 16, 2015
Nope, there's no nearby black hole. That, we'd have noticed.

It will be interesting to learn how many of the Oort Cloud objects are roughly within the same plane as the familiar planets. The more they are in the same plane, the more persuasive is the argument that they coalesced there from the same nebula as the Sun.

Nov 16, 2015
Ya I meant stellar mass black hole.

The only stellar mass black holes we have observed are ones that are close enough to it's binary member to leach matter from it. If it's far enough away, and small enough, there would be nothing to feed the BH so it would avoid detection. This scenario would also lead to minimal effects for our solar system (by which I mean the realm of the heliosphere).

my2cts, could you explain how stellar parallax rules this out? Wouldn't we have to "see" the black hole to be able to measure that?

Nov 16, 2015
Wouldn't we have to "see" the black hole to be able to measure that?
@Scroof
we would have to be able to see the objects behind it warping or distorting due to the gravitational lensing...

if there were a close enough S[stellar]M black hole (as in, a binary system for our Sol) then we should see a lot of distortion regularly in the galaxy as we rotate and spin (and it also)... i would think some of this would be visible with the naked eye, but even if it were not, once we had telescopes, it would be very hard to miss...

thus observing anything in the background from separate points of our orbit anywhere near a Stellar Mass BH that is nearby would show vastly different results


Nov 16, 2015
One big old solar system there.
The article did not explain why the dwarf planet could indicate the presence of a nearby star. Would we not have seen the sun's brother by now? Unless he is a dark one....

Nov 16, 2015
we would have to be able to see the objects behind it warping or distorting due to the gravitational lensing...


Right, but just because we haven't observed it doesn't mean it's not there. At a distance further then the oort cloud it would be relatively tiny, comparable to the size of the stars/galaxies that it would have to distort. And we would have to have a telescope in place to see a point cross a point. It's the typical case of a needle in a haystack.

Nov 16, 2015
At a distance further then the oort cloud it would be relatively tiny, comparable to the size of the stars/galaxies that it would have to distort
@scroof
this should be easily modeled... you should look this up and see if it has been done
i might try that as well when i've finished with some vid's i got recently

but considering that any time it crossed the Milky Way, there should be a considerable disturbance that was easily viewed, i would think that it would be more noticeable than you are thinking...

we've also been paying a lot of attention to the Oort cloud and more recently, and then there are the probes we've sent

I also think that if there was something like a Solar MBH nearby (especially as a binary member to Sol), we would see more perturbations
(IMHO)

maybe someone like Axe, Q-Star, etc could join in this discussion?


Nov 16, 2015
this should be easily modeled... you should look this up and see if it has been done

I've been looking for something like this but can't find anything close.

Just think about the size of the sun from Pluto for instance. It looks like just another star, albeit much brighter and slightly larger.
http://blogs.disc...sDXarTBQ

So if we have a back hole that physically would be very small (the size of a mountain) it would be extremely hard to detect any lensing effects even if you did happen upon it. Just think about the extremely small numbers used to validate lensing during an eclipse to prove GR.

Nov 16, 2015
Ya I meant stellar mass black hole.

The only stellar mass black holes we have observed are ones that are close enough to it's binary member to leach matter from it. If it's far enough away, and small enough, there would be nothing to feed the BH so it would avoid detection. This scenario would also lead to minimal effects for our solar system (by which I mean the realm of the heliosphere).

my2cts, could you explain how stellar parallax rules this out? Wouldn't we have to "see" the black hole to be able to measure that?

The sun would be in orbit around such a black hole. Unless the orbital time is very long, in which case a gravitational bond can be questioned, this would affect measurably the apparent position of nearby stars with respect to distant objects.

Nov 17, 2015
Unless the orbital time is very long

You mean like 26000 years long? Axial precession is still quite a guess, we have never observed a full cycle so we can't know for sure what's causing it. There are some theories that say it's caused by the orbit of our solar system with some other large body.

Nov 17, 2015
You mean like 26000 years long? Axial precession is still quite a guess, we have never observed a full cycle so we can't know for sure what's causing it. There are some theories that say it's caused by the orbit of our solar system with some other large body.
@scroof
i would call that hypothesis... and it doesn't seem likely.
https://en.wikipe...on#Cause

this might be one of those situations that is like the eu and their Moon craters ideas...
yes, it might be possible that there is another large body out there however, given what we DO know and what is observed, it is far more likely that the effects are due to the Sun, Moon and (minimally) other planetary bodies, etc

(still haven't found a way to model the other issue, or found papers relevant... but haven't been looking too hard either due to other issues- sorry)

Nov 17, 2015
ya it's a hypothesis, but semi-plausible none the less. I suppose for it to be a theory we would have to predict something from it, like orbits of planetary objects we can't explain otherwise...

Nov 17, 2015
Unless the orbital time is very long

You mean like 26000 years long? Axial precession is still quite a guess, we have never observed a full cycle so we can't know for sure what's causing it. There are some theories that say it's caused by the orbit of our solar system with some other large body.

Come on, axial precession does not cause a parallax.
You know nothing of celestial mechanics, yet advance wild, unsubstantiated ideas.
This demands too much of my patience.
"semi-plausible", what do you even mean ?

Nov 17, 2015
If there was a stellar-mass black hole in our Oort Cloud, I would expect it to be *rather obvious* across a wide, wide spectrum. And that's without visible flaring when it snacks on something above ~10 metres diameter...

Nov 18, 2015
Come on, axial precession does not cause a parallax

Where are you getting that from? I never said it did, I was pointing out that we know of a large cycle that could be attributed to an orbit and not axial precession. Why don't you just take your 2 cents and get.

I would expect it to be *rather obvious* across a wide, wide spectrum.

And what spectrum is that? Didn't know we could detect black body radiation...

We have two ways to detect a black hole:
http://chandra.ha...node/308

The first way is by gravitational influence, which in theory we have in this case.

The second is by detecting xrays from a feeding black hole, which we don't have.

Nov 18, 2015
Come on, axial precession does not cause a parallax

Where are you getting that from? I never said it did, I was pointing out that we know of a large cycle that could be attributed to an orbit and not axial precession. Why don't you just take your 2 cents and get.

What do you bring up precession for? Haven't you heard the news? "The precession of the equinoxes is caused by the gravitational forces of the Sun and the Moon, and to a lesser extent other bodies, on the Earth. It was first explained by Sir Isaac Newton." (wikipedia)

I repeat, because you do not advance valid arguments, if the sun orbited around a dark companion it would be visible in stellar parallaxes, unless you assume a orbital period so high that there is no gravitational binding.
So the idea is out the window.


Nov 18, 2015
How would it be "visible" in stellar parallaxes? We can't see the black hole, and all stellar parallax is used for us measuring distance not for finding anything new. Also, there are known binary systems that have orbital periods of hundreds of thousands of years.
https://en.m.wiki...ary_star

I repeat, stellar parallax has nothing to do with finding black holes

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