Thousands of years to orbit the Sun Newly discovered farthest dwarf planet Farfarout

Schematic diagram of the orbit of the most distant planet Farfarout, numbered 2018 AG37. (Public domain)

Astronomers have discovered one of the farthest asteroids detected so far in our solar system, located more than four times the distance between Pluto and the Sun, and nicknamed Farfarout (extremely distant), meaning it is farther away than Farfarout (far side), the previous record holder for the farthest asteroid.

Pluto, at 34 astronomical units (au, an astronomical unit equivalent to the distance between Earth and the Sun) from the Sun, is the farthest planet from the Sun in our solar system, and was downgraded to “Dwarf Planet” in 2006, while Farfarout is currently located 132 Farfarout is currently located at a distance of 132 astronomical units from the Sun.

But Farfarout’s orbit is so narrow that it is as far as 175 astronomical units from the Sun and as close as 27 astronomical units to the Sun, at which point it is closer to the Sun than Neptune, the next planet in our solar system, which is a little closer to the Sun than Pluto. Its orbit with Neptune has an intersection point.

Farfarout takes about a thousand years to orbit the Sun. The fact that its orbit intersects Neptune makes it likely that Farfarout has been influenced by Neptune to a large extent during the long evolutionary history of the solar system. The researchers estimate that this may be the reason why its orbit became so narrow.

The group, which first spotted it in 2018, is only now determining its orbit, numbering it 2018 AG37. says David Tholen of the University of Hawaii, one of the researchers, “Because it has such a narrow orbit, it moves very slowly through the sky, and it takes many years of accumulated observations to determine its orbit.”

The researchers also want to give it a formal name in a few years, when its orbit is more clearly defined.

Farfarout is very faint when viewed through a telescope, making it very difficult to spot. Based on its brightness and distance from the Sun, researchers estimate it to be about 400 kilometers in diameter, which would barely qualify it as a dwarf planet. It is presumed to be a glacier-rich world according to known patterns.

The researchers are interested in what kind of interaction history Farfarout and Neptune have with each other. “The variations in Farfarout’s orbit help us understand the history of Neptune’s formation and development, and it is likely that Farfarout was flung so far away from Neptune a long Time ago because it was too close to it, and that after that time, since their orbits still have intersections, it is likely that Farfarout is still under Neptune’s influence. “