02:49 GMT +317 October 2018
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    This artist’s impression shows the temperate planet Ross 128 b, with its red dwarf parent star in the background.

    Newfound Dwarf Planet Bolsters Evidence of Mystery Super-Earth

    © Photo : ESO/M. Kornmesser
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    An extremely elongated orbit of a newly discovered dwarf planet points to the possible gravitational pull of a giant “Planet Nine” in the Oort Cloud region.

    The faraway dwarf planet, nicknamed The Goblin, was spotted by astronomers on the lookout for a hypothetical massive planet, known as Planet Nine, which orbit is believed to be in a mysterious region known as the Oort Cloud, in the outer reaches of the solar system, The Guardian wrote.

    Even though astronomers are yet to get a “visual” of Planet Nine, all signs indicate that The Goblin may be under the gravitational influence of a giant unseen object, adding to astronomers’ certainty that Planet Nine is indeed somewhere out there.

    The ice-covered Goblin, estimated to be just 300 kilometers (170 miles) across, travels along an extremely elongated orbit. At its closest, it gets about two and a half times as far from the sun as Pluto.

    Then it zooms off to the outermost fringes of the solar system, to almost 60 times further out than Pluto, taking an astounding 40,000 years to make a single loop around the sun. For 99 percent of its orbit, it would be too faint to see, the newspaper wrote.

    Konstantin Batygin, assistant professor of planetary science at Caltech, described the latest observations as a “great discovery indeed.”

    “Despite centuries of surveys, our understanding of the solar system remains incomplete,” he said. “This certainly adds to the growing ledger of … objects that show Planet Nine’s influence,” he said.

    The Goblin was discovered using the Japanese Subaru 8-meter (26-foot) telescope perched on top of the dormant Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii.

    READ MORE: Secrets of Ceres: NASA Takes Photos of Dwarf Planet's Mysterious Bright Spots

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    Tags:
    orbit, super-Earth, discovery, dwarf planet, Caltech, Konstantin Batygin, United States
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