Astronomers have identified the most distant known object in our solar system — a dwarf planet nicknamed Farfarout that orbits far beyond Pluto. This remote mini-planet swings so far away from the sun that from Farfarout’s perspective Earth and Saturn look like neighbors.
With an orbit that’s an average of 132 times the distance between Earth and the sun, or 132 astronomical units (AU), it beats “Farout,” the previous record holder for most-distant solar object; Farout orbits the sun at an average of 124 A.U. Farfarout’s technical name is 2018 AG37, and it will likely get an official name as a dwarf planet down the road.
While this space rock is big enough to take the classification “dwarf planet” and far, far out in the solar system, it’s nowhere near massive enough to be Planet 9, the theoretical object astronomers were searching for when they found it. Planet 9 is believed to orbit well beyond Neptune, if it exists, and have a mass many times that of Earth’s that has allowed it to stretch and warp the orbits of other outer-solar system objects with its gravity. Farfarout doesn’t have the bulk to account for that stretching and warping.