An astrophysicist, David Gerdes, discovered a new dwarf planet within our solar system that is further from the sun than Neptune. This dwarf planet is currently temporarily named 2014 UZ224 and is believed to be “the third most-distant object in the solar system” as stated by the Washington Post.
Located 8.5 billion miles from the sun, 2014 UZ224 is observed to be the size of Iowa, which is smaller than the average dwarf planet. The current dwarf planets: Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris; range in diameter from nine hundred and fifty-six kilometers to 2,326 kilometers while 2014 UZ224 measures roughly five hundred and thirty kilometers in diameter which is equal to three hundred and thirty miles. As of today, this new one takes the longest to orbit the sun, taking it more than one thousand years to complete one loop around. Due to the length of its orbit, the exact path remains unknown.
The number of dwarf planets continues to grow as we discover more each year. It is very likely that there are at least one hundred more dwarf planets just waiting to be discovered.
David Gerdes is an astrophysicist and Professor of Astronomy at the University of Michigan. He was being assisted by a team of undergraduate researchers when 2014 UZ224 was found. The students were helping create a new software and Gerdes was utilizing that software when he came across the dwarf planet. It took two years for this new dwarf planet to be confirmed.
“While the outer regions of the solar system are thought to be made up mostly of objects smaller than Pluto, there may be another planet nearly the size of Neptune lurking in this outer territory. Recent research has shown that the movement of known bodies in the outer solar system may point to the existence of this ninth planet (which scientists have dubbed Planet Nine)”.
Gerdes has thoughts on his next project being in search of this rumored, Planet Nine.
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