New Solar System Object, With Hints Of More

In Solar System by Brian Koberlein2 Comments

There’s a new member of the solar system, and it could mean even more to come. 

Known as 2014 UZ224, it is about 400 – 1,000 kilometers wide (depending on its albedo). As it’s name indicates, it was first seen in 2014, but it takes time to observe enough motion to confirm its orbit. It’s more than 90 times farther from the Sun than Earth, or more than twice as distant as Pluto. That makes it the second most distant solar system object, after Eris.

Not much is currently known about this new member of our family. As the flyby of Pluto demonstrated, it could hold plenty of surprises. But there is still plenty to learn from its orbit. Given that its distance is roughly similar to other trans-Neptunian bodies, it supports the argument that there could be more than 100 such objects in the region. This particular discovery is doubly interesting because it’s orbit is consistent with the “planet nine group,” which is a cluster of small bodies with orbits that seem to be gravitationally influenced by a super-Earth sized planet in the outer solar system.

The data supporting planet nine is still tentative, but this new discovery adds more evidence to the pile.


  1. There were a bunch of articles a while back talking about how there could be a brown dwarf, possibly in a binary arrangement with the Sun just outside the oort cloud, or a very large planet not so far out. Is that bunch of talk completely distinct from this possible hidden planet, or does it overlap? Either way, is there any room in the math to suspect the mysterious body could be closer still – and quite quite a bit smaller?

    This reminds me of myths I read as a kid about “Nemesis” and “Nibiru”/PLanet X….ooohhhhh waitaminnit.. is “Planet X” now “Planet IX”… Planet 9….?

  2. Didn’t I read (Wikipedia) that V774104 is some 100+ au distant? That’d make 2014 UZ224 the third most distant …

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