The solar system has a new most distant member, bringing its outer frontier into focus.
New work from Scott Sheppard from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., and Chadwick Trujillo from the Gemini Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, reports the discovery of a distant dwarf planet, called 2012 VP113, which was found beyond the known edge of the solar system. This is likely one of thousands of distant objects that are thought to form the so-called inner Oort Cloud. What’s more, their work indicates the potential presence of an enormous planet, perhaps up to 10 times the size of Earth, not yet seen, but possibly influencing the orbit of 2012 VP113 as well as other inner Oort Cloud objects.
The known solar system can be divided into three parts: the rocky planets like Earth, which are close to the Sun; the gas giant planets, which are further out; and the frozen objects of the Kuiper Belt, which lie just beyond Neptune’s orbit. Beyond this, there appears to be an edge to the solar system where only one object, Sedna, was previously known to exist for its entire orbit. But the newly found 2012 VP113 has an orbit that stays even beyond Sedna, making it the furthest known in the solar system.
More at the link