Dwarf Planet “Biden” Discovered At Fringes Of Solar System

There’s a political joke in there, but, let’s keep this to the realm of coolness

(Mercury News) Peering into the far reaches of the solar system, astronomers have spied a pink frozen world 7½ billion miles from the sun.

It’s the second such object to be discovered in a region of space beyond Pluto long considered a celestial wasteland. Until now, the lone known resident in this part of the solar system was an oddball dwarf planet spotted in 2003 named Sedna after the mythological Inuit goddess who created the sea creatures of the Arctic.

The latest discovery shows “Sedna is not a freak. We can have confidence that there is a new population to explore,” Yale University senior research scientist David Rabinowitz said in an email. He was one of Sedna’s founders, but had no role in the new find detailed in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature. (snip)

Like Sedna, 2012 VP113 is also a dwarf planet. It’s jokingly nicknamed “Biden” after Vice President Joe Biden because of the object’s initials. It measures about 280 miles across, or half the diameter of Sedna. It’s bone-chilling cold with a temperature of around minus 430 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unlike red and shiny Sedna, the newfound object is more pink and much fainter, which made it hard to detect.

By contrast, Earth is about 7,900 miles across and located 93 million miles from the sun.

Call me a geek, but I find this kind of stuff to be awesome.

Photo via Nature, from Scott S. Shepard at the Carnegie Institution of Science. The three dots show movement over several hours in November 5th, 2012.

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4 Responses to “Dwarf Planet “Biden” Discovered At Fringes Of Solar System”

  1. alanstorm says:

    At that distance from the sun, the orbital velocity should be minimal.

    Let’s name it “Biden” officially, since it’s dim and slow.

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  3. Jeffery says:

    Teach,

    It IS awesome. And in my world, “Geek” is a compliment.

  4. Trish Mac says:

    It is quite cool, and in my world Geeks rule.
    Calling this dwarf planet so very far out in space “Biden” is just icing on the cake…

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