Astronomers announced the discovery of the most-distant object in the solar system on November 10, 2015. Dubbed V774104, the body is between 500 and 1,000 km (300 and 600 miles) across and is three times farther from the Sun than Pluto. Astronomer Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., spoke about the object at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Science.
More observations are needed to determine V774104’s precise orbit.
If its current distance is not the farthest that V774104 ever is from the Sun, that means it probably is a Kuiper belt object with an unusual orbit. The Kuiper belt is a ring of icy bodies just beyond Neptune that includes the dwarf planet Pluto. However, if V774104 never gets any closer to the Sun, it could have originated from the inner Oort cloud, a spherical cloud of icy bodies believed to exist thousands of times farther from the Sun than Neptune.
V774104 could have been ejected from that cloud toward the Sun by an unseen planet that was either orbiting in the Oort cloud or passing through it as it was expelled from the solar system. Only two other possible inner Oort cloud objects, Sedna and 2012 VP113, are known.
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