It’s bigger than Pluto and it is the first object found beyond it
Observed for the first time in 2005, this planet still doesn’t have officially a name. It was found by Brown and colleagues using the Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory near San Diego.
The new member of our Solar System is about 97 ( 97 AU ) times farther from the Sun than Earth. Just to understand the real distance, Pluto is 40 AU from the Sun.
Appearing to be in the Kuiper Belt, a dark realm beyond Neptune, it is a typical object for this “zone”, the only difference is being made by its size.
It looks like a dim speck of light and of course it cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Despite of the fact that the planet was discovered in 2005, first photo of it was taken on 31 October, 2003, but scientists didn’t knew what it is at that time.
Is it the “true Planet Nine”?
“We are 100 percent confident that this is the first object bigger than Pluto ever found in the outer solar system,” Brown says.
The planet’s temporary name is 2003 UB313. A permanent name has been proposed by the discoverers to the International Astronomical Union, and they are awaiting the decision of this body before announcing the name.
A new research made this year says it is orbiting around 700 AU from the Sun, even the Kuiper belt bodies shifted just beyond 50 AU.
In terms of size, it can easily be compared with Mars.
ScienceAlert says that the discovery of more bodies in the Kuiper belt will help to support or debunk these findings. Either way, our little solar family is going to continue to grow with these long-lost distant relations.