By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
Researchers have just discovered the presence of a new dwarf planet in our Solar System. It’s a tiny little thing they call 2012 VP113 – or “Biden” – and it orbits the Sun at a distance of more than 7.8 billion miles away.
Researchers aren’t sure exactly how many other planets there are lurking in the dark cold regions of our Solar System, but they do know this: our corner of the Milky Way is filled with more neighbors than previously thought.
The new planet has a pleasant rosy color to its appearance, almost like it was embarrassed to be discovered. Its body is icy, cold, and far smaller than Pluto, a chunk of ice that lost its status as a planet a few years back. Biden is a mere 230 miles across, and is about as far out as another dwarf planet in the same region called Sedna.
In fact, both Sedna and Biden seem to be approaching our Sun at about the same angle, which makes researchers believe that a ghost planet 2-10 times larger than Earth is influencing their orbit. This large planet may have once been part of our immediate Solar System and then got rejected, altering the orbit of Biden and Sedna along with it. If this is true, then there could be other dwarf planets out there. However, researchers will wait until they discover more small planetary bodies with the same orbits as Biden and Sedna before they confirm the presence of a ghost planet.
Image of Biden evidence courtesy of NASA.