HONOLULU (KHON2) — A research team at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA), have confirmed the discovery of a planetoid that is almost four times farther from the Sun than Pluto, making it the most distant object ever observed in our solar system.
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The planetoid, nicknamed “Farfarout,” was first detected in 2018. UH says the team has now collected enough observations to pin down the orbit.
Farfarout’s current distance from the sun is 132 astronomical units (au). For comparison, Pluto is only 34 au from the sun.
The newly discovered object has a very elongated orbit that takes it out to 175 au at its most distant, and inside the orbit of Neptune, to around 27 au, when it is closest to the Sun.
“A single orbit of Farfarout around the Sun takes a millennium,” said Tholen. “Because of this long orbital period, it moves very slowly across the sky, requiring several years of observations to precisely determine its trajectory.”
Farfarout will be given an official name after its orbit is better determined over the next few years.