APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 31)

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APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 31)

Post by APOD Robot » Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:07 am

Image 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known Object in Solar System

Explanation: What is the furthest known object in our Solar System? The new answer is 2012 VP113, an object currently over twice the distance of Pluto from the Sun. Pictured above is a series of discovery images taken with the Dark Energy Camera attached to the NOAO's Blanco 4-meter Telescope in Chile in 2012 and released last week. The distant object, seen moving on the lower right, is thought to be a dwarf planet like Pluto. Previously, the furthest known dwarf planet was Sedna, discovered in 2003. Given how little of the sky was searched, it is likely that as many as 1,000 more objects like 2012 VP113 exist in the outer Solar System. 2012 VP113 is currently near its closest approach to the Sun, in about 2,000 years it will be over five times further. Some scientists hypothesize that the reason why objects like Sedna and 2012 VP113 have their present orbits is because they were gravitationally scattered there by a much larger object -- possibly a very distant undiscovered planet.

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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by Nitpicker » Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:15 am

My calculations (unchecked) give apparent magnitudes around opposition of about 23 for now, fading to about 31 in ~2000 years. If names are to be given to 1000 other objects like this, Arctic Mythology (following on from Sedna) may not be sufficient. Perhaps they should be named after ancient villains, as any one of them could supposedly be perturbed into the inner Solar System to wreak havoc.

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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by Boomer12k » Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:18 am

Sooooo....after Planet X has been dismissed....we are back to.....Planet X to explain the scattering of these other Dwarf Planets?????


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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by WolfmanSF » Mon Mar 31, 2014 7:46 am

Although their perihelion is only 38.3 AU, Eris and Dysnomia are currently the most distant known bodies in the Solar System (aside from comets) at 96.4 AU.

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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by neufer » Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:09 am

Boomer12k wrote:
Sooooo....after Planet X has been dismissed....we are back to.....Planet X to explain the scattering of these other Dwarf Planets?????
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2014/03261345-a-second-sedna-what-does-it-mean.html wrote:
A second Sedna! What does it mean?
by Emily Lakdawalla, Planetary Society, 2014/03/26

<<Recently, the WISE mission issued a press release stating that their survey of distant, cold objects had turned up no "Planet X." However, if you take time to read beyond the headline, you'll find that they mostly eliminated the possibility of an undiscovered [large/warm] planet the size of Saturn or larger, but there is still plenty of room for an object the size of Neptune, Earth, or Mars....

In a series of blog posts relating his discovery of Sedna and what it means, Mike Brown outlined his three favorite explanations for how Sedna formed: either there is an undiscovered planet orbiting the Sun near Sedna's perihelion position (i.e., ~ 80 AU); or a passing star had approached to within several hundred AU of the Sun and disturbed orbits of objects it passed near; or a model relating to the fact that Earth was born in a star cluster. Mike likes to discover new things so he said he liked the planet X a lot, but he thought the most likely explanation was the star cluster one....

Hal Levison was more interested in a different coincidence about Sedna and 2012 VP113. "It's a little odd that the first two objects that have been discovered have perihelia that large. There's not a guy at 55 or 60 AU. It probably means there's an inner edge to this population; that certainly would constrain things." I poked at this, really wanting the distance to tell me that there was a planet X at 80 AU, but unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Hal said that some solar system formation simulations do turn out to have an inner edge to the inner Oort cloud or first-generation Oort cloud without the help of any interloping planet, "Because you have to get far enough away from the planets to stabilize the orbits for long periods of time. I don't think it's hugely surprising that that edge is there.">>

More at: http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-la ... -mean.html
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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by metamorphmuses » Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:17 am

@ WolfmanSF, yes, I needed to check on that myself but it was because I thought the claim was for farthest aphelion, but it's actually for farthest perihelion. 2012 VP113 has a perihelion of roughly 80AU and an aphelion of about 461AU, whereas Sedna has a perihelion of roughly 76AU and an aphelion of about 988AU, both according to Wikipedia. Sedna still takes my breath away because its aphelion is 5 light days & 17 light hours from us and yet still in our solar system, but 2012 VP113's aphelion is still an impressive 2 light days & 14 light hours away from us.

Dorking out a little, it's trippy to think that if Captain Kirk were stuck with the Enterprise "only" going Warp 1, it'd still take him almost 6 days to reach Sedna at aphelion.

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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by pkr » Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:43 am

Isn't Voyager 1 the furthest known object in the Solar System?

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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by geckzilla » Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:51 am

pkr wrote:Isn't Voyager 1 the furthest known object in the Solar System?
You could get nitpicky on this. Voyager 1 has been declared to have entered interstellar space. You could say some other man made probe is the farthest known object, sure. But in this context we are only interested in natural bodies orbiting the sun.
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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by MargaritaMc » Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:42 am

This thread in Breaking Science News has some discussion about the discovery of 2012 VP113

http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=33194
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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by BDanielMayfield » Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:25 am

The article on Sky and Telescope’s website about this is also interesting: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/New ... 02851.html

This finding also relates to a topic formerly under discussion I had raised about how many planets may exist in the observable universe. http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=32706

That discussion has been stalled for a while now, I guess due to so much uncertainty about how many planets exist even in our own teeny tiny region, our own solar system.

What will it take to get a reasonably complete census of our Sun’s planetary family?

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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by C Downunder » Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:11 pm

Um, I see two elongated (moving in the time of the photographic exposure) down lower left. So which one is it?

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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by Nitpicker » Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:22 pm

C Downunder wrote:Um, I see two elongated (moving in the time of the photographic exposure) down lower left. So which one is it?
Not quite sure what you are referring to, but if you follow the "Pictured above" link, namely:
http://home.dtm.ciw.edu/users/sheppard/ ... mages.html

... it will hopefully become obvious that the new object is on the right hand side of the images, moving into the bottom-right.

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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by C Downunder » Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:31 pm

Ah, yes thanks, lower right, not lower left. I figured the relevancy of this picture was to identify evidence of the moving body discovered by showing the short movement trail. Hence I identified and look for elongated images lower left, where in fact the real object is the stationary spherical brighter point lower right - no evidence of motion shown in this image. The evidence of movement shown beautifully in the link you provided. Sorry about that. Very clear in the linked images, thanks. Cool. One of many more to be found I imagine.

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Post by neufer » Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:15 pm

WolfmanSF wrote:
geckzilla wrote:
pkr wrote:
Isn't Voyager 1 [at a distance of about 127.22 AU] the furthest known object in the Solar System?
You could get nitpicky on this. Voyager 1 has been declared to have entered interstellar space. You could say some other man made probe is the farthest known object, sure. But in this context we are only interested in natural bodies orbiting the sun.
Although their perihelion is only 38.3 AU, Eris and Dysnomia are currently the most distant known [natural] bodies in the Solar System (aside from comets) at 96.4 AU.
  • Comets, Popular Culture, and the Birth of Modern Cosmology By Sara J. Schechner wrote:
    Queen Elizabeth's court astrologer John Dee warned her NOT to gaze upon the Great COMET of 1577;
    Elizabeth boldly declared "Iacta est alea" and approached the window.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Comet_of_1577 wrote: <<The Great Comet of 1577 (official designation: C/1577 V1) was a comet that passed close to Earth during the year 1577 AD. It was viewed by people all over Europe, including the famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe and Turkish astronomer Taqi ad-Din. From his observations of the comet, Brahe was able to discover that comets and similar objects travel above the Earth's atmosphere. The best-fit using JPL Horizons suggests that the comet is currently about 320 AU from the Sun (based on 24 of Brahe's observations spanning 74 days from 13 November 1577 to 26 January 1578).

Tycho Brahe, who is said to have first viewed the comet slightly before sunset on November 13 after having returned from a day of fishing, was the most distinguished observer and documenter of the comet's passing. Sketches found in one of Brahe's notebooks seem to indicate that the comet may have travelled close to Venus. These sketches depict the Earth at the centre of the solar system, with the sun and moon in orbit and the other planets revolving around the Sun. Despite these misconceptions on Brahe's part, Brahe left behind thousands of very precise measurements he made of the comet's path, and these findings contributed to Johannes Kepler's theorising of the laws of planetary motion and realisation that the planets moved in elliptical orbits. Kepler, who was Brahe's assistant during his time in Prague, believed that the comet's behavior and existence was proof enough to displace the theory of celestial spheres, although this view turned out to be overly optimistic about the pace of change.

Brahe's discovery that the comet's coma faced away from the sun was also significant. One failing Brahe had in his measurements was in exactly how far out of the atmosphere the comet was, and he was unable to supply meaningful and correct figures for this distance; however, he was, at least, successful in proving that the comet was beyond the orbit of the moon about the Earth, and, further to this, was probably near three times further away. He did this by comparing the position of the comet in the night sky where he observed it (the island Hven, near Copenhagen) with the position observed by Thadaeus Hagecius (Tadeáš Hájek) in Prague at the same time, giving deliberate consideration to the movement of the Moon. It was discovered that, while the comet was in approximately the same place for both of them, the Moon was not, and this meant that the comet was much further out.

Brahe's finding that comets were heavenly objects, while widely accepted, was the cause of a great deal of debate up until and during the seventeenth century, with many theories circulating within the astronomical community. Galileo claimed that comets were optical phenomena, and that this made their parallaxes impossible to measure. However, his hypothesis was not accepted.>>
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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by Keyman » Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:50 pm

Kepler, who was Brahe's assistant during his time in Prague, believed that the comet's behavior and existence was proof enough to displace the theory of celestial spheres, although this view turned out to be overly optimistic about the pace of change.
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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:07 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:What will it take to get a reasonably complete census of our Sun’s planetary family?
More data. We haven't found enough bodies beyond Pluto yet to use statistics to estimate the actual count. And we're still lacking in the technology to collect that data, since the Oort Cloud remains largely beyond our capability to detect. That will require large, space-based IR telescopes. So we're probably still looking a few decades from now.
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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by RJN » Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:18 pm

The APOD text has been updated to say that 2012 VP113 has the furthest known orbit in the Solar System. Of natural bodies that is. I apologize for the oversight. - RJN

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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:30 pm

RJN wrote:The APOD text has been updated to say that 2012 VP113 has the furthest known orbit in the Solar System. Of natural bodies that is. I apologize for the oversight. - RJN
I'm not really sure how to interpret "orbit" here. Furthest known aphelion or perihelion? And certainly, we know of many comets with more distant aphelions than 2012 VP113. It's hard to be terse and still deal accurately with the many classes of Solar System bodies orbiting the Sun.
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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by neufer » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:02 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
RJN wrote:
The APOD text has been updated to say that 2012 VP113 has the furthest known orbit in the Solar System. Of natural bodies that is. I apologize for the oversight. - RJN
I'm not really sure how to interpret "orbit" here. Furthest known aphelion or perihelion? And certainly, we know of many comets with more distant aphelions than 2012 VP113. It's hard to be terse and still deal accurately with the many classes of Solar System bodies orbiting the Sun.
The text should make clear that it is the furthest known perihelion.
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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by neufer » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:16 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
BDanielMayfield wrote:
What will it take to get a reasonably complete census of our Sun’s planetary family?
More data. We haven't found enough bodies beyond Pluto yet to use statistics to estimate the actual count. And we're still lacking in the technology to collect that data, since the Oort Cloud remains largely beyond our capability to detect. That will require large, space-based IR telescopes. So we're probably still looking a few decades from now.
Gaia (with its magnitude +20 sensitivity) should do a good senseless census job for:
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Gaia/Spinning_in_space wrote: <<Gaia’s mission relies on the systematic and repeating observation of star positions in two fields of view. As the detectors repeatedly measure the position of each celestial object, they will detect any changes in the object’s motion through space.

To achieve its mission the spacecraft is spinning slowly, sweeping its two telescopes across the entire celestial sphere to make four complete rotations per day. Gaia’s telescopes point at two different portions of the sky, separated by a constant 106.5°. Therefore, objects arrive in the second field of view 106.5 minutes after they are observed in the first.

Meanwhile its spin axis precesses around the Sun with a period of about 63 days, allowing different parts of the sky to be scanned. This scanning strategy builds up an interlocking grid of positions, providing absolute – rather than relative – values of the stellar positions and motions.

The spacecraft spin axis makes an angle of 45° with the Sun direction, ensuring that the payload is shaded from the Sun, but that the solar arrays can still produce electricity efficiently.>>
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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:22 pm

neufer wrote:Gaia (with its magnitude +20 sensitivity) should do a good senseless census job for:
It will certainly add to the data. But it doesn't come close to allowing a complete statistical census of the Solar System.
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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by MarkBour » Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:21 pm

Does the Sun have rings?
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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:26 pm

MarkBour wrote:Does the Sun have rings?
No.
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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by RJN » Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:12 pm

neufer wrote: The text should make clear that it is the furthest known perihelion.
OK I updated the text again (but not the title). The second sentence now makes "orbit" more clear, in the context of the explanation and title, by starting "In terms of how close it will ever get to the Sun..."

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Re: APOD: 2012 VP113: A New Furthest Known in... (2014 Mar 3

Post by BMAONE23 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:14 pm

Both the Main Asteroid Belt and Kuiper Belt might be viewed as Rings around the Sun with Jupiter and Neptune as shepherding Planets maintaining their respective Outer and Inner boundaries anthough they are more Toroids than Rings