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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2012 VP113
2012 VP113 orbit with solar system.png
Orbital diagrams of 2012 VP113 with Pluto and the outer planets as of 2017
Discovery [1][2]
Discovered byS. S. Sheppard
C. Trujillo
Discovery siteCTIO
Discovery date5 November 2012
(announced: 26 March 2014)
Designations
MPC designation2012 VP113
"Biden" (nickname)
TNO[3] · sednoid[4]
Orbital characteristics[3][6]
Epoch 27 April 2019 (JD 2458600.5)
Uncertainty parameter 5
Observation arc5.0 yr (1,840 d)
Aphelion434.92 AU
Perihelion80.424 AU
257.67 AU
Eccentricity0.6879
4,136.24 yr (1,510,761 d)
4300 yr (barycentric)[5]
3.5584°
0° 0m 0.72s / day
Inclination24.110°
90.680°
293.62°
Physical characteristics
Mean diameter
450 km (assumed)[7][8]
574 km[9]
650±350 km[7]
702 km[4]
0.09 (assumed)[4][9]
0.15[8]
moderately red
V−R = 0.52[8]
B−V = 0.92
23.34[10]
4.0[1][3]
4.5[9]

2012 VP113, also known by its nickname "Biden", is a trans-Neptunian object of the sednoid population, located in the outermost reaches of the Solar System. It was first observed on 5 November 2012, by American astronomers Scott Sheppard and Chad Trujillo at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.[1][2] The discovery was announced on 26 March 2014.[8][11] The dwarf planet candidate measures approximately 600 kilometers (370 miles) in diameter.

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Transcription

Astronomers believe there is a giant planet lurking in the outer solar system, and we're going to learn more about it starting right now. Welcome back to Launch Pad, I'm Christian Ready, your friendly neighborhood astronomer. In 2016, astronomers Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin at Caltech announced evidence of a giant planet in the distant outer solar system. In this video, I'd like to tell you about how they arrived at this claim and where we stand on the hunt for Planet 9. Now claims of new planets in our solar system are nothing new. In 1906, Percival Lowell believed that there was a giant planet that was disturbing the orbits of Uranus and Neptune. Lowell calculated that the planet must be at least the mass of Jupiter but perhaps even larger. He spent the last decade of his life searching for Planet X to no avail. When Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto in 1930, people thought that Lowell's giant planet was found. But Pluto wasn't a giant. In fact it's not even a Mercury sized planet. Pluto turned out to be a member of a new region of trans-Neptunian objects called the Kuiper belt. As for Lowell's calculations, well, it turns out he was wrong. He used the wrong values for the masses of Neptune and Uranus, and when Voyager 2 flew past both planets in the 1980s, their masses were precisely calculated and the perturbances of the other orbits that Lowell discovered went away. Still that didn't stop astronomers from invoking Planet X on 573 different occasions, only to find that claim disproven on every single attempt. So why are astronomers so convinced that there is a new planet out there? In order to understand that, we need to go back to 2003 when Mike Brown and his colleagues discovered Sedna. It's a 1000 kilometer-wide dwarf planet that orbits far beyond Neptune. But Sedna's orbit isn't just far, it's shaped differently than anything that had been discovered before. Sedna has a close approach to the Sun - or perihelion - of 76 astronomical units, and swings out to an aphelion of 934 astronomical units. This highly eccentric orbit was unlike anything that we'd had ever discovered in the solar system before, and astronomers immediately wanted to know just what Sedna was doing out there on such a strange orbit. In 2014 Chad Trujillo and Scott Sheppard discovered that a new object, 2012 VP 113, was also on a really eccentric orbit that was not unlike Sedna's. Both of these objects are so distant that they are completely oblivious to the gravity of the inner planets. In other words, they're detached from the rest of the solar system. Soon additional objects were discovered that are a little closer to the Kuiper belt, but are otherwise on very eccentric orbits like the Sednoids. But there was something else really peculiar about these objects: not only were their orbits eccentric but they were all pointing in roughly the same direction. Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin analyzed these orbits and they discovered that not only were they aligned but they were also inclined by roughly the same amount with respect to the rest of the solar system. In fact they even calculated that the chances of these alignments occurring by random chance were something like 0.007%. they concluded that something must be shepherding the orbits of these objects. And that something turns out to be a giant planet about 10 times Earth's mass on a 10,000 to 20,000 year orbit around the Sun. They dubbed this new world "Planet 9". But they also realized something else: over time Planet 9 could twist up the orbits of inner Kuiper belt objects and fling them into highly eccentric perpendicular orbits to the rest of the solar system. Sure enough, a population of exactly those types of objects on exactly those types of orbits were discovered year prior. And Planet 9 explained something else that has puzzled astronomers for a very long time about our solar system: all of the planets orbit the Sun and roughly the same plane, inclined by about degree of each other. But the Sun is tilted by about six degrees, and that's a significant shift from the plane of the planets. But Planet 9's orbit is highly inclined with respect to the solar system. That means that Planet nine can act as a kind of a lever arm, and gradually tilt the orbits of the planets. In other words, it's not the Sun that's tilted but the orbits of the planets themselves that have been tilted, courtesy of Planet nine. And Planet nine gives our solar system something that we didn't even realize we were missing until relatively recently. 2000 planetary systems have been discovered so far with planets ranging in size from smaller than Mars to larger than Jupiter. But the most common type of planet found to date ranges in size between Earth and Neptune. These are called "Super Earths", and we don't seem to have anything like that in our solar system. But now with Planet 9 we do! Planet 9 is estimated to be about 10 times Earth's mass which would put it firmly in the super-Earth category. But why would our super-Earth be so far away from the rest of the other planets? It turns out that if you simulate the early solar system with four giant cores, you end up with the four giant planets that you have today. But if you simulate five giant cores forming in the early solar system, the least massive of these cores gets ejected while the remaining four cores goes on to form the four giant planets. The ejected core's growth is stunted and it only grows to about ten Earth masses. So Planet 9 explains so much about our solar system. It explains the orbital clustering of distant outer bodies. It explains the apparent tilt of the Sun. It even gives our solar system its very own super-Earth. Only one teeny little problem is that we haven't actually found Planet 9 yet. But astronomers are looking for it, and the good news is that they're pretty sure it should be found somewhere near the constellation Orion. The bad news is that it's still an enormous chunk of the sky to have to search through, so astronomers have formed teams in a friendly competition to see who can find planet nine first. And in October 2018, Scott Sheppard and Chad Trujillo announced that a new object in the outer solar system has an orbit that fits perfectly into the Planet 9 model. This object is called 2015 TG387, and because it was discovered near Halloween and because of "TG" in its name, it's been nicknamed "The Goblin". The Goblin is tiny, only 300 kilometers across and is most likely a frozen chunk of ammonia and methane ice. The Goblin's orbit is the largest and most eccentric of any object of its kind ever discovered. Its perihelion is "only" 65 au, so it does come in a little bit closer than Sedna. But it swings out to an aphelion of, get this, 2,300 au, making this the most distant object of its type ever discovered. And best of all, The Goblin's orbit is exactly where it would be expected to be if it were being shepherded by Planet 9. And it gets even better because astronomers have found another set of objects in orbits that are anti-aligned with the previous orbits, but they would fit perfectly inside of Planet 9's predicted orbit, allowing it to be held stable by the giant planet. Now all this makes for some compelling evidence that there is a distant giant planet lurking in the outer solar system, and we're going to learn how astronomers are searching for Planet 9 in our next video. So make sure that you subscribe, and ring that notification bell so that you don't miss out when our next video is posted. Until next time keep watching the skies.

Contents

Classification and physical characteristics

2012 VP113 is the minor planet with the farthest known perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) in the Solar System, greater than Sedna's.[12] Though its perihelion is farther, 2012 VP113 has an aphelion only about half of Sedna's. It is the second discovered sednoid, with semi-major axis beyond 150 AU and perihelion greater than 50 AU. The similarity of the orbit of 2012 VP113 to other known extreme trans-Neptunian objects led Scott Sheppard and Chad Trujillo to suggest that an undiscovered object, Planet Nine, in the outer Solar System is shepherding these distant objects into similar type orbits.[8]

It has an absolute magnitude of 4.0,[1] which makes it likely to be a dwarf planet,[9] and it is accepted as a dwarf planet by some.[13] It is expected to be about half the size of Sedna and similar in size to Huya.[7] Its surface is thought to have a pink tinge, resulting from chemical changes produced by the effect of radiation on frozen water, methane, and carbon dioxide.[14] This optical color is consistent with formation in the gas-giant region and not the classical Kuiper belt, which is dominated by ultra-red colored objects.[8]

History

Discovery

Discovery images taken on 5 November 2012. A merger of three discovery images, the red, green and blue dots on the image represent 2012 VP113's location on each of the images, taken two hours apart from each other.
Discovery images taken on 5 November 2012. A merger of three discovery images, the red, green and blue dots on the image represent 2012 VP113's location on each of the images, taken two hours apart from each other.

2012 VP113 was first observed on 5 November 2012[2] with NOAO's 4-meter Víctor M. Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.[15] Carnegie's 6.5-meter Magellan telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile was used to determine its orbit and surface properties.[15] Before being announced to the public, it was only tracked by Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (807) and Las Campanas Observatory (304).[1] It has an observation arc of about 2 years.[3] Two precovery measurements from 22 October 2011 have been reported.[1] A primary issue with observing it and finding precovery observations of it is that at an apparent magnitude of 23, it is too faint for most telescopes to easily observe.

Nickname

2012 VP113 was abbreviated "VP" and nicknamed "Biden" by the discovery team, after Joe Biden, who at the time of discovery, was vice president of the United States.[11]

Orbit

2012 VP113 has the largest perihelion distance of any known object in the Solar System.[16] Its last perihelion was around 1979,[a] at a distance of 80 AU;[3] it is currently 84 AU from the Sun. As of 2018, only nine other Solar System objects are known to have perihelia larger than 47 AU: Sedna (76 AU), 2014 FZ71 (56 AU), 2014 FC72 (52 AU), 2004 XR190 (51 AU), 2015 FJ345 (51 AU), 2013 SY99 (50 AU), 2010 GB174 (49 AU), 2014 SR349 (48 AU) and (474640) 2004 VN112 (47 AU).[16] The paucity of bodies with perihelia at 50–75 AU appears not to be an observational artifact.[8]

It is possibly a member of a hypothesized Hills cloud.[7][15][17] It has a perihelion, argument of perihelion, and current position in the sky similar to those of Sedna.[7] In fact, all known Solar System bodies with semi-major axes over 150 AU and perihelia greater than Neptune's have arguments of perihelion clustered near 340°±55°.[8] This could indicate a similar formation mechanism for these bodies.[8] (148209) 2000 CR105 was the first such object discovered.

It is currently unknown how 2012 VP113 acquired a perihelion distance beyond the Kuiper belt. The characteristics of its orbit, like those of Sedna's, have been explained as possibly created by a passing star or a trans-Neptunian planet of several Earth masses hundreds of astronomical units from the Sun.[18] The orbital architecture of the trans-Plutonian region may signal the presence of more than one planet.[19][20] 2012 VP113 could even be captured from another planetary system.[13] However, it is considered more likely that the perihelion of 2012 VP113 was raised by multiple interactions within the crowded confines of the open star cluster in which the Sun formed.[7]

See also

Have very large aphelion

Notes

  1. ^ The 1-sigma uncertainty in the year of perihelion passage is ~4 years using JPL solution 2.[3]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f "2012 VP113". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "MPEC 2014-F40 : 2012 VP113". IAU Minor Planet Center. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014. (K12VB3P)
  3. ^ a b c d e f "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: (2012 VP113)" (2016-11-04 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Johnston, Wm. Robert (7 October 2018). "List of Known Trans-Neptunian Objects". Johnston's Archive. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  5. ^ Horizons output. "Barycentric Osculating Orbital Elements for 2012 VP113". Retrieved 23 January 2016. (Ephemeris Type:Elements and Center:@0)
  6. ^ Malhotra, Renu; Volk, Kathryn; Wang, Xianyu (2016). "Corralling a distant planet with extreme resonant Kuiper belt objects". The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 824 (2): L22. arXiv:1603.02196. Bibcode:2016ApJ...824L..22M. doi:10.3847/2041-8205/824/2/L22.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Lakdawalla, Emily (26 March 2014). "A second Sedna! What does it mean?". Planetary Society blogs. The Planetary Society. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Trujillo, C. A.; Sheppard, S. S. (2014). "A Sedna-like body with a perihelion of 80 astronomical units" (PDF). Nature. 507 (7493): 471–474. Bibcode:2014Natur.507..471T. doi:10.1038/nature13156. PMID 24670765. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 December 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d Brown, Michael E. "How many dwarf planets are there in the outer solar system?". California Institute of Technology. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  10. ^ "2012 VP113 – Summary". AstDyS-2, Asteroids – Dynamic Site. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  11. ^ a b Witze, Alexandra (26 March 2014). "Dwarf planet stretches Solar System's edge". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2014.14921.
  12. ^ Chang, Kenneth (26 March 2014). "A New Planetoid Reported in Far Reaches of Solar System". New York Times. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  13. ^ a b Sheppard, Scott S. "Beyond the Edge of the Solar System: The Inner Oort Cloud Population". Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science. Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  14. ^ Sample, Ian (26 March 2014). "Dwarf planet discovery hints at a hidden Super Earth in solar system". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  15. ^ a b c "NASA Supported Research Helps Redefine Solar System's Edge". NASA. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  16. ^ a b "JPL Small-Body Database Search Engine: q > 47 (AU)". JPL Solar System Dynamics. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  17. ^ Wall, Mike (26 March 2014). "New Dwarf Planet Found at Solar System's Edge, Hints at Possible Faraway 'Planet X'". Space.com web site. TechMediaNetwork. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  18. ^ "A new object at the edge of our Solar System discovered". Physorg.com. 26 March 2014.
  19. ^ de la Fuente Marcos, Carlos; de la Fuente Marcos, Raúl (1 September 2014). "Extreme trans-Neptunian objects and the Kozai mechanism: signalling the presence of trans-Plutonian planets". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters. 443 (1): L59–L63. arXiv:1406.0715. Bibcode:2014MNRAS.443L..59D. doi:10.1093/mnrasl/slu084.
  20. ^ de la Fuente Marcos, Carlos; de la Fuente Marcos, Raúl; Aarseth, S. J. (11 January 2015). "Flipping minor bodies: what comet 96P/Machholz 1 can tell us about the orbital evolution of extreme trans-Neptunian objects and the production of near-Earth objects on retrograde orbits". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 446 (2): 1867–1873. arXiv:1410.6307. Bibcode:2015MNRAS.446.1867D. doi:10.1093/mnras/stu2230.

External links

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