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New dwarf planet discovered in distant reaches of solar system
Posted: Thu, Mar 27, 2014, 7:13 AM ET (1113 GMT)
2012 VP113 image (Carnegie Inst.) Astronomers said Wednesday they have detected a body in the distant reaches of the solar system similar that may provide new evidence for an unseen larger object even farther away. Object 2012 VP113, unofficially nicknamed "Biden," comes no closer to the Sun than 80 astronomical units, a more distant perihelion that Sedna, a dwarf planet discovered in 2003 with a perihelion of 76 AU. Sedna, though, has a more distant aphelion, 937 AU versus 472 for VP113, and has a diameter roughly twice that of VB113's estimated 450 kilometers. The two objects, though, suggest that there may be as many of 900 bodies with sizes and orbits similar to Sedna and VP113. Astronomers speculate that a distant massive body farther out in the solar system, potentially several times larger than the Earth, could perturb objects into these elliptical orbits, although there is no direct observational evidence for such an object.
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