A dwarf planet has been discovered behind Neptune

Image Credit: Alex Parker of the OSSOS team.

Image Credit: Alex Parker of the OSSOS team

“The icy worlds beyond Neptune trace how the giant planets formed and then moved out from the Sun. They let us piece together the history of our Solar System. But almost all of these icy worlds are painfully small and faint: it’s really exciting to find one that’s large and bright enough that we can study it in detail.” – Dr Michele Bannister, University of Victoria in British Columbia.

A dwarf planet has been discovered orbiting beyond Neptune. The planet, designated 2015 RR245, resides in an icy debris field called the Kuiper Belt, home to the famous dwarf planet Pluto. RR245 was noticed in February when astronomers were studying a tiny speck of light in images taken with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope located on the Mauna Kea Mountian in Hawaii.

The size of RR245 is hard to determine, however, astronomers have measured its distance to be 9.6 billion kilometers from the Sun. This means it orbits around the Sun once every 700 years. Judging by the photos that where observed, RR245 could either be large for a dwarf planet, yet quite dim, or could be smaller and very bright. If RR245 is similar to the other dwarf planets that reside in the Kuiper Belt, then it may be around one-fifth the diameter of the Moon.

Click here for more information about RR245.

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