Farout and Planet X

21 December 2018

Astronomers at the Minor Planet Center at Harvard University have discovered another minor planet way (and I mean WAAAY) out in the solar system. Perhaps not surprisingly, they've nicknamed it "Farout", but its official name is the rather unromantic 2018 VG18.

It was discovered (and then confirmed) photographically. Two photos Were taken of the same area of the sky at different times and then compared. The photos are below, with Farout marked with the green arrows. Notice how it's moved a bit?

Farout does move very slowly, taking about 1000 earth years to complete an orbit or the sun.

Astronomers hope that by watching Farout and learning more detail about its path, they'll get closer to finding the mysterious Planet X, which they are pretty certain is out there somewhere.

I took a similar pair of photos of Uranus a couple of months ago, including its two major moons, Oberon and Titania. It doesn't need a very big telescope, but you do need a DSLR and a t-ring, some patience, and a bit of practice.

Do you have any planetary photo pairs? Send them in in the comments section below!