What is the issue ?
- A new dwarf planet has been discovered, nicknamed ‘The Goblin’ .
- Its orbit, according to the team who discovered it, supports the existence of Planet X, or Planet 9, distant and elusive, presumed to be the ninth planet of the Solar System.
What we know about Planet 9 :
- Estimated to be 10 times as massive as Earth, it has been predicted in a series of studies over the years. It is believed to be influencing the behaviour of many known objects — behaviour that would be difficult to explain if it did not exist.
- In 2016, CalTech researchers Konstantin Batygin and Michael Brown argued that Planet 9 could be responsible for the peculiar alignment of objects on the outskirts of the Solar System.
- The same year, another team held Planet Nine responsible for the “wobble” in the orbital plane of the eight planets, which is aligned six degrees off from the Sun’s equatorial plane.
- Earlier this year, University of Michigan PhD student Juliette Becker and colleagues reported a new discovery — an object called 2015 BP519 — and argued that Planet 9 was causing the extreme tilt of BP519’s orbital plane, aligned at 54° to the orbital plane of the eight planets.
Why was it named ‘The Goblin’? and more about it :
- Two reasons: one, its provisional name, 2015 TG387, contains the initials TG; two, it was discovered close to Halloween.
- At the time of discovery, the Goblin was 80 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun (1 AU is equal to the distance between the Earth and the Sun). At its closest, the Goblin is 65 AU from the Sun. It orbits the Sun once in 40,000 years.
- It is part of a region called the Inner Oort Cloud, along with the objects 2012 VP113 and Sedna. When VP113 was discovered, scientists noticed similarities in the orbits of several distant Solar System objects, and proposed this was because of the influence of Planet 9.