- A newly discovered dwarf planet, nicknamed ‘The Goblin’ and charting a lonely orbit far beyond Pluto, has caught the attention of the scientific community.
- Its orbit, according to the team who discovered it, supports the existence of Planet X, or Planet 9 — distant and elusive, presumed to be the ninth planet of the Solar System.
- Estimated to be 10 times as massive as Earth, it has been predicted in a series of studies over the years.
The latest find
- Why ‘The Goblin’? Two reasons: one, its provisional name, 2015 TG387, contains the initials TG; two, it was discovered close to Halloween.
- At the time of discovery, announced Tuesday, the Goblin was 80 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun (1 AU is equal to the distance between the Earth and the Sun).
- At its closest, the Goblin is 65 AU from the Sun. It orbits the Sun once in 40,000 years.
It is part of a region called the Inner Oort Cloud, along with the objects 2012 VP113 and Sedna. When VP113 was discovered, scientists noticed similarities in the orbits of several distant Solar System objects, and proposed this was because of the influence of Planet 9.