A surprise monster may be lurking in our solar system. A newly discovered dwarf planet has grabbed the crown as the most distant known object in our solar system – and its orbit hints at a giant, unseen rocky world, 10 times the mass of Earth and orbiting far beyond Pluto.
The dwarf planet, for now dubbed 2012 VP113 because it was spotted in images taken in November 2012 – is an interesting discovery in itself. Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC and his colleagues found that it is a lump of rock and ice 450 kilometres wide and lies at 80 astronomical units from the sun at its closest approach (1 AU is Earth’s distance from the sun).
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New dwarf planet hints at giant world far beyond Pluto