Astronomers have found an enormous planetary body at the far edge of our solar system. Although the newfound object is not considered as the 9th planet, scientists say that the discovery is quite noteworthy.
The astronomers have named the planetary body as ‘DeeDee’, short for Distant Dwarf. Initially, DeeDee was noticed in late 2016, but the scientists back then barely had any information about its physical structure. Now, new information revealed by The Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) has uncovered details about DeeDee, and it’s even bigger than scientists initially thought.
The new data explains that DeeDee is located 92 astronomical units, which is about 137 billion km or 86 billion miles from the Sun towards the edge of our solar system. The sun rays take around 13 hours to reach DeeDee, making it second only to the dwarf planet Eris in terms of most distant known Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNO). The new discovery also says that DeeDee takes around 1100 years (Earth years) to revolve around the sun just once.
The size of DeeDee is around two-thirds of the size of the dwarf planet Ceres, which is the largest member of our asteroid belt. It also has enough mass to be spherical which makes it eligible to be called as a dwarf planet. However, astronomers have not given the title to it as of yet.
“Far beyond Pluto is a region surprisingly rich with planetary bodies,” said lead researcher David Gerdes in a news release from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in USA, reports Futurism. “Some are quite small but others have sizes to rival Pluto and could possibly be much larger.”
DeeDee was first noticed by researchers at Chile’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory as part of the Dark Energy Survey last year. At that time, astronomers weren’t certain if it was small and very reflective or large and very dark. Following observations carried out by ALMA, the researchers were able to confirm its unusual size and darkness readily.
“We calculated that this object would be incredibly cold, only about 30 degrees Kelvin, just a little above absolute zero,” said Gerdes. Researchers also confirmed that DeeDee reflected only around 13 percent of the sunlight that reached it, making it about as bright as a candle at the halfway mark between Earth and the Moon.
This discovery of DeeDee shows us how we still have much more to learn and explore about our own solar system.
Information source: futurism
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