Archive for the ‘Chile’ Tag

Pretty in Pink At The Edge Of The Galaxy   38 comments

 

Far away in the celestial wastelands at the outer edge of our Solar System further out even than Pluto, lies a lone dwarf planet going by the name of Sedna.

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Conspicuously red and shiny and boasting the sharing of its name with an Inuit goddess who according to mythology was the creator of the Arctic’s sea life, Sedna was likely enjoying its privileged position of unique lonesomeness. Having enjoyed this status since it was first discovered in 2003 it may not however have been quite so impressed to learn that it had company!

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Ever so slightly freezing cold at approximately -430 degrees F and very pretty in pink, dwarf planet 2012 VP113 lies 7 ½ billion miles from Earth’s sun (Earth lies at 93 million miles from its sun); although when it suits, it has the capacity to swing out to as far as 42 billion miles from our Sun; this is due to it’s having what is technically known as an “eccentric and elongated orbit.” Not to be outdone by its fainter pink neighbour Sedna can swagger out up to double this distance at 84 billion miles from the sun.

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Frozen pink world, VP113 is also a very small dwarf planet at only 280 miles in diameter meaning that Sedna can at least enjoy the satisfaction of being twice the size; although Earth dwarfs them both with a 7,900 miles diameter .VP113 is not at all shiny and therefore despite being very, very pretty in pink was extremely difficult for astronomers to spot. Hence its existence remained unknown until 2012 when it was discovered by the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory telescope based in Chile.

So what exactly is so fascinating about a faint, frozen pink dwarf planet somewhere out in the farthest reaches of the solar system?

Basically it is likely there are many more such worlds to be found in this remote region of the solar system just waiting to be found. Scientists hope that they will, as a collective, shed light on the formation of both the new worlds such as VP113 and also our Solar System.

Sources:

Associated Press

Agence France-Presse