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Say Hello To ‘DeeDee’! Solar System’s Newly Discovered Dwarf World Where 1 Year Is 1,100 Earth Years

First Posted: Apr 14, 2017 05:31 AM EDT
DeeDee
A comparison chart to show new solar member DeeDee’s size.
(Photo : ENVIRONMENT & TECHNOLOGY/YouTube screenshot)

A new planetary body has been discovered at the edge of the Solar System that astronomers have named as DeeDee. Short for Distant Dwarf, the celestial world fulfills the criteria required to make the cut for a dwarf planet; however, astronomers have still not officially declared it as one.

DeeDee -- which is just about 395 miles wide -- was first discovered in late 2016 as part of a Dark Energy Survey, Science Alert reported. However, little was known about the dwarf’s physical structure. Now, with the help of new data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), scientists have come to know more about the true identity of the hitherto mysterious object. The research has been published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The dwarf world is located at a distance of approximately 13.7 billion kilometers, or 92 astronomical units from the Sun. The orbit of DeeDee is so wide that it takes the world 1,100 years to complete just one round of the Sun.

"Far beyond Pluto is a region surprisingly rich with planetary bodies," said lead researcher David Gerdes, according to Science Daily. "Some are quite small but others have sizes to rival Pluto, and could possibly be much larger."

According to astronomers, the discovery of DeeDee is exciting because such planetary objects are the remnants from our planetary system’s creation. Gaining a deeper understanding about how and when they were formed could help scientists solve one of the greatest mysteries of planetary science -- how did the planets of the Solar System originate?

DeeDee’s discovery confirms that modern technology is gaining more edge for spotting extremely distant and slow moving objects on the Solar System’s edges. According to Science Alert, perhaps the same techniques can be used to discover the mysterious and elusive Planet Nine, the hypothetical ninth planet in the Solar System.

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