Astronomers working in the OSSOS program discovered a new dwarf planet orbiting our Sun from a quite impressive distance, way beyond Neptune.
The space object received the temporary name of 2015 RR245, and it is incredibly tiny. With only 435 miles in diameter, the dwarf planet goes as far as 7.4 billion miles away from the Sun.
The contrast between the size and its trajectory is incredible, and it’s curious how the small object never gets lost into space. The dwarf planet 2015 RR245 has a 700-year orbit, and it’s three times smaller than Pluto.
The researchers involved in the discovery are glad to find the world beyond Neptune that is quite large enough to be studied. Those distant space territories are filled with tiny and icy objects that are so faint that any scientific observation is almost impossible.
The discovery of the small planet was performed earlier this year by the National Research Council of Canada, while analyzing images from the CFHT Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The project was a part of the Outer Solar System Origins Survey program.
Dwarf planets are extremely rare in the solar systems, as their size makes it easier for them to be destroyed by other space objects, or simply ejected out of their trajectory and into the chaos.
There are only six known dwarf planets in our solar system. The other five are Ceres, Pluto, Makemake, Haumea, and Eris.
The distant planets have a very unusual geology, and they are generally composed of frozen materials. Pluto is one of the small objects that had been studied more closely, and the planet displayed a scarred surface of the ice. Scientists believe that all dwarf planets have the same characteristic.
The Outer Solar System Origins Survey had lead to the discovery of over 500 trans-Neptunian objects. However, this would be the first time the program creates the premises for a dwarf planet detection.
The program has the purpose of making observations of the outer space, to find more information on its history. The team is not equipped with the necessary software and personnel that leads to the discovery of planetary objects. Thus, the small 2015 RR245 was discovered by a delightful mistake, scientists believe.
The CFHT observatory played the central role in this scientific achievement, as its location and its wide-field imager made it possible to reach deep into space and capture even the faintest signal.
Image Source: Wikipedia