Astronomers have discovered the most distant object in the solar system, a dwarf planet about 120 astronomical units from the sun.
The distance is 120 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun — so far away that its discoverers astronomers called it “Farout,” though its official name is 2018 VG18.
“Farout” is about 300 miles in diameter and has a “pinkish, reddish hue to it,” according to Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, one of the scientists who made the discovery. Its pinkish color also suggests that the planet is covered in ice, said the scientist.
“When I saw the object for the first time, it was moving so slowly, it was the slowest thing I’ve ever seen,” said Sheppard, adding that it may take more than 1,000 years for the object to trip around the sun.
Sheppard and other scientists spotted Farout during their search for a ninth major planet at the outer reaches of the solar system.
There are roughly 50 dwarf planets in the solar system. The biggest are Pluto, with a diameter of about 2,370 km, and Eris, with a diameter of about 2,325 km.