Astronomers Discover New Dwarf Planet Beyond Neptune

Posted on July 11, 2016

Astronomers have discovered a new dwarf planet in our solar system. The dwarf planet is located in a disk of small icy worlds beyond Neptune. Dwarf planet 2015 RR245 was discovered using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Maunakea, Hawaii, as part of the ongoing Outer Solar System Origins Survey (OSSOS). It is estimated to be about 700 kilometers in size.

Dr. Michele Bannister of the University of Victoria in British Columbia says in the announcement, "The icy worlds beyond Neptune trace how the giant planets formed and then moved out from the Sun. They let us piece together the history of our Solar System. But almost all of these icy worlds are painfully small and faint: it's really exciting to find one that's large and bright enough that we can study it in detail."

RR245 takes about 700 years to orbit the sun. Its precise orbit will be refined over the coming years. The surface properties of RR245 are not yet known. Bannister says, "It's either small and shiny, or large and dull."

You can view a large version of the orbit diagram on Flickr.

More from Science Space & Robots