New Dwarf Planet Discovered in Solar System,

By Rodney Rafols , Oct 13, 2016 03:00 AM EDT

The Solar System as the Earth's neighborhood still holds many surprises. Astronomers have discovered one of these surprises when a new dwarf planet was spotted. The new dwarf planet it joins the ranks of Pluto as one of the smallest planets in the Solar System.

Scientists from the University of Michigan have found the dwarf planet. Physicist David Gerdes credits the discovery to a group of students who has a project to find a new object in space. The objects found would be included in a galaxy map that is to be created.

The dwarf planet is named 2014 UZ224, according to Phys Org. It is a small object at only 330 miles across. Its distance from the Earth is 14 billion kilometers and it takes 1,140 years to orbit the Sun. The dwarf planet would roughly be in the region of the Kuiper Belt.

The team of students that discovered the dwarf planet used the Dark Energy Camera to spot the planet. The Dark Energy Camera was developed with the help of Gerdes, as NPR reports. Along with the Dark Energy Camera, the students also made software that would be able to track the dwarf planet's movement.

"We often just have a single observation of the thing, on one night," Gerdes explained. The dwarf planet would then be observed two weeks later, and so on. He said connecting the dots to track its movement is an issue, and the software developed served that purpose of tracking how the dwarf planet moved.

The new dwarf planet would join Sedna, Eris and Makemake as dwarf planets of the solar system, though it isn't certain if it would be considered as a dwarf planet for so long because of its size.

The next challenge would be to find Planet Nine, an elusive planet that's said to be 10 times larger than the Earth and could very well be beyond the Kuiper Belt. So far it has not been found but there are astronomers who believe that it is out there. Images taken for the galaxy map project might turn up Planet Nine, Gerdes said.

Planet Nine might also affect our solar system if it does exist, as earlier reported in iTech Post. 

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