It seems that we have another planet in our Solar System. The new discovery is a dwarf planet, called 2014 UZ224. According to the researchers from the University of Michigan, they found it near Pluto and it is located around 8.5 billion miles from the sun. The scientists also discovered that it is smaller than Pluto and even smaller than Pluto’s moon Charon. It has 330 miles.
David Gerdes was the researcher who discovered the dwarf planet. He managed to do this by using a simple, but efficient technique. As we already know, planets are moving in our Solar System. He looked every night for objects that had a different position. Things were not so easier because he was not able to see the new planet every night. Sometimes there were even weeks without a single observation. However, he did not give up. An object that was moving could be only an asteroid or a planet.
Researchers used a software and they were able to find out that 2014 UZ224 was moving. The other objects in its area stayed in the same place during the observation. This is how another dwarf planet in our Solar System was discovered.
Scientists are not surprised as this is not the first dwarf planet from our system. During the years, humans also discovered Ceres, Eris, Haumea, Makemake and the famous Pluto. This makes researchers wonder how many other planets like Pluto are in our Solar System and what secrets are hiding.
The 2014 UZ224 has one more battle to fight before it will be named officially a planet. The International Astronomical Union will decide if it can be considered a planet or if it is too small. We are expecting some arguments between astronomers regarding this matter. However, the researchers from the University of Michigan are sure they discovered a real planet. This could give NASA another opportunity to gather information about the outer space. While the space agency focuses on sending humans to Mars, new planets are found with new opportunities.
2014 UZ224 could be also called Planet Nine. We are waiting for the decision of the authorities. How do you think this new discovery will change the way we see the Solar System?
Image source: Wikipedia