Astronomers confirm that "Farfarout" is the most distant celestial body in the Solar System

By TPN/Lusa, in News, Science · 12-02-2021 15:00:00 · 1 Comments

A new astronomical study has confirmed that the Solar System's most distant celestial body, dubbed "Farfarout", is the most distant from the Sun, NOIRLab, a US astronomy research centre, said in a statement.

The object, whose orbit intersects that of Neptune, the eighth and last planet of the Solar System, was first observed in January 2018 with the Subaru telescope in Hawaii, United States, but at the time, astronomers did not know exactly how far it was from the Sun.

Now, as a result of new observations with other telescopes, namely the two from the Gemini Observatory, with which NOIRlab works, the astronomers have confirmed, after obtaining the orbit of the body, that "Farfarout" is further away than the object that held the distance record, "Farout", also discovered by the same team of researchers.

According to the new observations, "Farfarout" is 19.7 billion kilometres from the Sun, while rival "Farout" is 18.5 billion kilometres away. The dwarf planet Pluto, for example, is on average 5.8 billion kilometres from the Sun and the Earth is around 150 million kilometres away.

Since the orbit of "Farfarout" intersects that of Neptune, "it can provide information about the history of the outer Solar System", which includes three more gas giants: Saturn, Jupiter and Uranus.

According to one of the astronomers who took part in the observations, David Tholen, from the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii in the United States, the celestial body "takes a thousand years to go around the Sun once" and therefore moves "very slowly across the sky, requiring several years of observations to accurately determine its trajectory".

The team estimates, based on the brightness, which is faint, and the distance it is from the Sun, that "Farfarout" will have about 400 kilometres in diameter, admitting that it may meet the conditions to be classified as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union, whose secretary general is Portuguese astronomer Teresa Lago.

For the astronomers who made the observations, "Farfarout" is just "the tip of the iceberg" of distant objects in the Solar System.



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Comments:

Far out that Farfarout is now the farthest, whilst Farout is not that far out compared to Farfarout.

By Ian from Lisbon on 13-02-2021 02:53
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