The 40,000 year orbit of a recently discovered dwarf planet, nicknamed “The Goblin” adds to growing circumstantial evidence of a yet unseen giant planet lurking in the icy dark region on the edge of the solar system.
As described in an article on Carnegie Science, The dwarf planet that was first discovered in 2015 has been designated 2015 TG387. It has been given formal recognition by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center. The most exciting aspect of this discovery is its extremely elongated orbit.
Some astronomers believe that the very long orbits of the dwarf planets that have been discovered in the outer edges of the solar system provides strong evidence of the gravitational effects that would be expected if there were a very large planet in the outer reaches of the solar system. The probable, but unseen “Planet 9”, or “Planet X” as some have dubbed it, is strongly suspected to be the cause of the elongated orbits of the dwarf planets that have been discovered.
Based on the gravitational effect on 2015 TG387 and the other dwarf planets residing at the edge of the ort cloud, It is believed that “Planet X” would be much larger than Earth, probably closer in size to Neptune.
Illustrations by Roberto Molar Candanosa and Scott Sheppard, courtesy of Carnegie Institution for Science.
To put the relative distances into context; the Earth is 93 million miles from the sun, astronomers have dubbed this distance 1 astronomical unit (1 au). According to the current calculations for the orbit of 2015 TG387, at its closest approach to the sun, it comes no closer than 65 AU- or approximately 6 billion miles. Due to its verly elongated orbit, at its furthest point, it is calculated to reach 2,300 au, or nearly 214 billion miles. At this distance, light from the sun would take a nearly 13 days to reach The Goblin.