2012 VP113

2012 VP113

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Scientists using ground-based observatories have discovered an object that is believed to have one of the most distant orbit found beyond the known edge of our solar system. Named 2012 VP113, it may be a dwarf planet. A dwarf planet is an object in orbit around the sun that is large enough to have its own gravity pull itself into a nearly round or spherical shape.

The discovery shows the outer reaches of our solar system are not an empty wasteland as once was thought. There may be many more inner Oort Cloud bodies awaiting discovery.

2012 VP113's closest orbit point to the sun brings it to about 80 times the distance of the Earth from the sun, a measurement referred to as an astronomical unit or AU. The rocky planets and asteroids exist at distances ranging between .39 and 4.2 AU. Gas giants are found between 5 and 30 AU, and the Kuiper Belt (composed of hundreds of thousands of icy objects, including Pluto) ranges from 30 to 50 AU. In our solar system there is a distinct edge at 50 AU. Until 2012 VP113 was discovered, only Sedna, with a closest approach to the Sun of 76 AU, was known to stay significantly beyond this outer boundary for its entire orbit.

Measurements of the color of 2012 VP113 show it is moderately red. This is typical of objects in the Kuiper Belt and suggests that 2012 VP113 formed in the gas giant region of the solar system before being ejected to the inner Oort Cloud. Assuming that 2012 VP113 reflects 15 percent of the light falling on it, it is about 450 km (280 miles) in diameter.

Changing Data

Apparent Magnitude:
Size (")
Distance in light minutes:
Distance in miles:
Distance in AU:

Orbital Data

Rotational Period:
Orbital Period:
0.000 * 100 km
0.000 * 100 km
Semi-Major Axis:
0.000 * 100 km
Orbit Circumference:
0.000 * 100 km
Ascending Node:
Axial Tilt:
Color BV:
Color UV:
Equatorial Diameter:
0.000 * 100 km
Equatorial Circumference:
0.000 * 100 km
Surface Area:
0.000 * 100 km2
Surface Gravity:
Surface Temperature:
0.000 * 100 kg
0.00000 * 100 km3
Absolute Magnitude: