More Planet Nine evidence? Farout is the farthest object in the solar system ever found

Artist concept of 2018 VG18 “Farout”. (Credit: Roberto Molar Candanosa/Carnegie Institution for Science.)

It is far, man – literally.

Researchers have discovered the most distant celestial bodies in the solar system, with a pink dwarf planet nicknamed “Farout,” detect at a distance of more than 100 times further than the Earth from the Sun.

The object, also known as 2018 VG18, is about 120 astronomical units (AE), and then the 96 AU of the second farthest object in the solar system, Eris. An AU is about 149.6 million km, or the distance from the center of the Earth to the center of the Sun.


“2018 VG18 is much more distant and slower moving than other observed solar system object, so it will take a few years to to the full determine of the job,” says researcher Scott Sheppard, who has helped in making the discovery. “But it was found in a similar location on the sky to the other well-known extreme solar system objects, which suggests that it might have the same sort of job that most of them do.”

He continued: “The orbital agreements displayed by many of the well-known small, isolated solar system was the catalyst for our original assertion that there is a distant, massive planet at several hundred AU shepherding these smaller objects.”

Based off the teams’ preliminary findings, they believe Farout has “a shade of pink, a color generally associated with ice-rich objects.” The researchers have also not yet been able to conclude what 2018 VG18 the job is, so that they are not able to show whether the drawing is formed by Planet X, also known as Planet Nine.

Not much else is known about the object, said David Tholen, a researcher at the University of Hawaii, who has helped in the discovery of the object. “Because 2018 VG18 is so far, it runs very slowly, probably more than a 1000 year journey around the Sun,” Tholen said in the statement.

The object was discovered in a part of the team’s ongoing search for distant objects in the solar system, including the aforementioned Planet Nine/X.

The same research group also discovered the Goblin dwarf planet in October.


Planet Nine

In October 2017, Caltech planetary astrophysicist Konstantin Batygin said that there are “five different lines of observational evidence” that point to the existence of Planet X/Nine.

The five lines of evidence are:

  • Six well-known objects in the Kuiper Belt, all of which have elliptical orbits, which point in the same direction.
  • The orbits of the objects are all tilted in the same way; 30 degrees “down.”
  • Computer simulations show that more objects are “tilted with respect to the solar plane.”
  • Planet Nine may be responsible for the tilt of the planets in our solar system; in the plane of the planets orbit is tilted approximately 6 degrees relative to the Sun the equator
  • A number of objects from the Kuiper Belt orbit in the opposite direction of the rest of the solar system.

“No other model can explain the weirdness of this high inclination orbits,” Batygin said at the time. “It turns out that the Planet Nine provides a natural way for their generation. These things are twisted out of the solar system plane with the help of the Planet Nine and then spread inward by Neptune.”

In October 2017, NASA released a statement saying that the Planet Nine can be 20 times further from the Sun than Neptune, going so far as to say “it is now more difficult to imagine our solar system without a Planet Nine than one.”

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

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