The boundaries of astronomical discovery keep getting pushed, especially in the 21st century with new technologies and equipment being put on line at a rapid pace. On December 17, 2018, 115 years to the day after the Wright Brothers made their first flight, astronomers at the Carnegie Institution for Science and the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center announced the discovery of possible dwarf planet 2018 VG18, the farthest known world to be discovered in the solar system to date.
2018 VG18, also nicknamed “Farout” due to its great distance from the Sun, is a world big enough to be round and therefore to be categorized as a dwarf planet along the lines of Pluto, Ceres, Eris, Haumea, and other small worlds that have not cleared their orbits.
Farout, the first world to be discovered at a distance of over 100 AU, was discovered last month by a team led by Scott S. Sheppard from Carnegie University, Chad Trujillo of Northern Arizona University, and David Tholen from the University of Hawaii.
Farout moves between the two discovery images while the background stars and galaxies do not move over the 1 hour between images. Credit: Scott S. Sheppard/David Tholen.
This team, ...