2012 VP113

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2012 VP113
2012 VP113 discovery image.jpg
Discovery images taken on November 5, 2012. A merger of three discovery images, the red, green and blue dots on the image represent 2012 VP113's location on each of the images, taken two hours apart from each other.
Discovered by Scott Sheppard
Chad Trujillo
Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (807)
Discovery date 5 November 2012
announced: 26 March 2014
MPC designation 2012 VP113
TNO, sednoid
Orbital characteristics[2]
Epoch JD 2457000.5 (9 December 2014)
Aphelion 446 ± 13 AU (Q)
Perihelion 80.5 ± 0.6 AU (q)
263 ± 7 AU (a)
Eccentricity 0.696 ± 0.011
4268 ± 179 yr
Inclination 24.024°±0.004°
90.87°±0.01° (Ω)
294°± (ω)
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 300–1000 km[3]
450 km (assumed)[3][4]
600 km[5]
Albedo 0.15 (Nature; 2014)[4]
0.1 (Brown website)[5]
Spectral type
(moderately red)
V−R = 0.52 ± 0.04[4]
B−V = 0.92
4.0 (MPC)[6]
4.0 (JPL)[2]
4.3 [5]

2012 VP113 is a planetoid in the outer reaches of the Solar System. It is the object with the farthest known perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) in the Solar System, farther than Sedna's.[7] Its discovery was announced on 26 March 2014.[4][8] It has an absolute magnitude (H) of 4.0,[6] which makes it likely to be a dwarf planet,[5] and it is accepted as a dwarf planet by some.[9] It is expected to be about half the size of Sedna and similar in size to Huya.[3]

Its surface is believed to have a pink tinge, resulting from chemical changes produced by the effect of radiation on frozen water, methane, and carbon dioxide.[10] This optical color is consistent with formation in the gas-giant region and not the classical Kuiper belt, which is dominated by ultra-red colored objects.[4]



2012 VP113 was first observed on 5 November 2012[1] with NOAO's 4-meter Víctor M. Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.[11] Carnegie’s 6.5-meter Magellan telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile was used to determine its orbit and surface properties.[11] Before being announced to the public, it was only tracked by Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (807) and Las Campanas Observatory (304).[6] It has an observation arc of about 2 years.[2] Two precovery measurements from 22 October 2011 have been reported.[6] A primary issue with observing it and finding precovery observations of it is that at an apparent magnitude of 23, it is too faint for most telescopes to easily observe.


2012 VP113 was abbreviated "VP" and nicknamed "Biden" by the discovery team, after Joe Biden, the Vice President (VP) of the United States.[8]


2012 VP113 has the largest perihelion distance of any known object in the Solar System.[12] Its last perihelion was around 1979,[a] at a distance of 80 AU;[2] it is currently 83 AU from the Sun. Only four other Solar System objects are known to have perihelia larger than 47 AU: Sedna (76 AU), 2004 XR190 (51 AU), 2010 GB174 (48 AU), and 2004 VN112 (47 AU).[12] The paucity of bodies with perihelia at 50–75 AU appears not to be an observational artifact.[4]

It is possibly a member of a hypothesized inner Oort cloud.[3][11][13] It has a perihelion, argument of perihelion, and current position in the sky similar to those of Sedna.[3] In fact, all known Solar System bodies with semi-major axes over 150 AU and perihelia greater than Neptune's have arguments of perihelion clustered near 340 ± 55°.[4] This could indicate a similar formation mechanism for these bodies.[4] (148209) 2000 CR105 was the first such object discovered.

It is currently unknown how 2012 VP113 acquired a perihelion distance beyond the Kuiper belt. The characteristics of its orbit, like those of Sedna's, have been explained as possibly created by a passing star or a trans-Neptunian planet of several Earth masses hundreds of astronomical units from the Sun.[14] The orbital architecture of the trans-Plutonian region may signal the presence of more than one planet.[15][16] 2012 VP113 could even be captured from another planetary system.[9] However, it is considered more likely that the perihelion of 2012 VP113 was raised by multiple interactions within the crowded confines of the open star cluster in which the Sun formed.[3]

Most distant TNOs in the Solar System at present time
Body Eris 2007 OR10 Sedna 2012 VP113 2006 QH181
Distance (AU) 96.4 87.0 86.3 83.1 82.9
Magnitude (vmag) 18.7 21.4 21.0 23.4 23.6


  1. ^ The 1-sigma uncertainty in the year of perihelion passage is ~4 years using JPL solution 2.[2]


  1. ^ a b "MPEC 2014-F40 : 2012 VP113". IAU Minor Planet Center. 2014-03-26. Retrieved 2014-03-26.  (K12VB3P)
  2. ^ a b c d e "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: (2012 VP113)" (last observation: 2013-10-30 (arc=~2 year)). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 2014-03-31. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Lakdawalla, Emily (2014-03-26). "A second Sedna! What does it mean?". Planetary Society blogs. The Planetary Society. Retrieved 2014-03-27.  External link in |work= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Trujillo, C. A.; Sheppard, S. S. (2014). "A Sedna-like body with a perihelion of 80 astronomical units" (PDF). Nature 507 (7493): 471–474. Bibcode:2014Natur.507..471T. doi:10.1038/nature13156. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-12-16. 
  5. ^ a b c d Brown, Michael E. (2014-04-17). "How many dwarf planets are there in the outer solar system? (updates daily)". California Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  6. ^ a b c d "2012 VP113 Orbit" (arc=739 days over 3 oppositions). IAU Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  7. ^ Chang, Kenneth (2014-03-26). "A New Planetoid Reported in Far Reaches of Solar System". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  8. ^ a b Witze, Alexandra (2014-03-26). "Dwarf planet stretches Solar System's edge". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2014.14921. 
  9. ^ a b Sheppard, Scott S.. "Beyond the Edge of the Solar System: The Inner Oort Cloud Population". Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  10. ^ Sample, Ian (2014-03-26). "Dwarf planet discovery hints at a hidden Super Earth in solar system". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  11. ^ a b c "NASA Supported Research Helps Redefine Solar System's Edge". NASA. 2014-03-26. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  12. ^ a b "JPL Small-Body Database Search Engine: q > 47 (AU)". JPL Solar System Dynamics. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  13. ^ Wall, Mike (2014-03-26). "New Dwarf Planet Found at Solar System's Edge, Hints at Possible Faraway 'Planet X'". Space.com web site. TechMediaNetwork. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  14. ^ "A new object at the edge of our Solar System discovered". Physorg.com. 2014-03-26. 
  15. ^ de la Fuente Marcos, C.; de la Fuente Marcos, R. (1 September 2014). "Extreme trans-Neptunian objects and the Kozai mechanism: signalling the presence of trans-Plutonian planets". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters 443 (1): L59–L63. arXiv:1406.0715. Bibcode:2014MNRAS.443L..59D. doi:10.1093/mnrasl/slu084. 
  16. ^ de la Fuente Marcos, C.; de la Fuente Marcos, R.; Aarseth, S. J. (11 January 2015). "Flipping minor bodies: what comet 96P/Machholz 1 can tell us about the orbital evolution of extreme trans-Neptunian objects and the production of near-Earth objects on retrograde orbits". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 446 (2): 1867–1873. arXiv:1410.6307. Bibcode:2015MNRAS.446.1867D. doi:10.1093/mnras/stu2230. 

External links[edit]

Media related to 2012 VP113 at Wikimedia Commons