Ever since we were children, teachers have always taught us that Pluto is the outermost heavenly body in our solar system. Today, we no longer hold on to such a belief. Although Pluto is quite far, it’s nowhere as distant as we thought.
What’s Really Out There?
The rocky planets namely, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, are the bodies closest towards the Sun. After Mars sits the asteroid belt which is a collection of various space rocks and a number of dwarf planets. Further beyond the asteroid belt, we enter the regions of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and its small, remote neighbor, Pluto.
In 2006, The International Astronomical Union (IAU) changed the standing of Pluto to a dwarf planet since it failed to satisfy the three requirements used to define a full-sized planet. Later on, astronomers started naming other dwarf planets within our solar system covering those that settle well outside the orbit of Pluto.
Pluto not only lost its status as a planet, but also as the farthermost body in the solar system, after Eris was found. Nevertheless, Eris still doesn’t hold that title even though it takes 561.4 Earth years for the dwarf planet to orbit the Sun. Even further past Eris, near the outer edge of the Oort cloud, lies the dwarf planet Farout. It orbits at approximately a mile per second. Given this rate, 1,000 years still won’t be enough for Farout to complete a single revolution around the sun.
Looking back at Pluto now, the dwarf planet no longer appears that remotely located away from the sun when Eris and Farout are put into the equation. While it’s pretty awesome that a new record holder has been discovered, what is the relevance of it all?
Just A Regular Day
With all that being said, no one was surprised when Farout was discovered just recently in November 10, 2018. NASA is currently is in the middle of exploring the most secluded places of our solar system. So although the find is exhilarating, it’s something that the guys back in NASA were already expecting beforehand.
A major exploration was spearheaded in search of heavenly bodies located at the fringe of our solar system to gain more knowledge on the gravitational effects of the sun at the furthermost regions. It is their hope that there are others similar to Farout that will soon be discovered at some point in the project.