For a long time, Pluto was considered the outskirts of the solar system, its kind of “boundary pillar”. However, three years ago, a group of astronomers led by Scott Sheppard was able to significantly “push” the former border into the depths of the universe, thanks to the discovery of a previously unknown object, dubbed 2018 AG37 Farfarout.
To understand how far it is from Earth, scientists cite several numbers. If, for example, the Sun is at a distance of one astronomical unit (1 AU) from us, then AG37 Farfarout is separated from our main luminary by 132 AU or 20 billion kilometers (from the Earth to the Sun is only 150 million km). A little earlier, Farout (124 AU) and Goblin (80 AU) were considered the most distant objects in the solar system.
Among the reasons for such a long stay of Farfarout in the unknown is not only the prohibitive distance from the Earth, but also its tiny size – only 400 km in diameter, which cannot be compared even with dwarf planets. Its orbit around the Sun is a giant stretched ellipse, extending 175 AU at its farthest point from it, and 27 AU at its nearest. It takes 1000 years to complete one revolution around the Sun. According to scientists, this orbital configuration was not formed without the “participation” of the gravity of the ice giant – Neptune.
Research participants have no doubt that, thanks to improved observation methods, the discovery of more distant objects in the solar system is only a matter of time.