Farout: Scientists spot solar system's farthest known object

December 17, 2018 - 1:23 pm

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Astronomers have spotted the farthest known object in our solar system — and they've nicknamed the pink cosmic body "Farout."

The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center announced the discovery Monday.

"Farout" (pronounced far-out) is about 120 astronomical units away — that's 120 times the distance between Earth and the sun, or 11 billion miles. The previous record-holder was the dwarf planet Eris at 96 astronomical units.

The Carnegie Institution's Scott Sheppard says the object is so far away and moving so slowly it will take a few years to determine its orbit. At that distance, it could take more than 1,000 years to orbit the sun.

The astronomers spied the dwarf planet in November using a telescope in Hawaii.

It's an estimated 500 kilometers (310 miles) across.

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