Astronomers Discover a New Dwarf Planet Beyond Neptune

Jul 14, 2016

Credit Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS)
Discovery gif, the planet appears as one of the dots on the right hand side.
Credit Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS)

  An international team of astronomers has discovered a new dwarf planet orbiting in a disk of small icy worlds beyond Neptune.  The new object is a little more than 400 miles wide and has one of the largest orbits recorded for a dwarf planet.  The small icy planet was spotted with the large camera at the Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope on Mauna Kea  as part of the ongoing Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS).

Scientists say the find was a technological feat, since the object was just dim enough to elude less sensitive telescopes used in previous sky surveys.  Dr. Michele Bannister is a researcher with the University of Victoria.  She says the discovery may contain clues to the history of our solar system.

For now, scientists are calling the planet RR245, although a more memorable name is currently in the works.