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Astronomers Announce Discovery of New ‘Dwarf’ Planet at Edge of Solar System

(Images in red, green, and blue show the location of the newly discovered dwarf planet nicknamed "Biden."  Image by Scott S. Sheppard, Carnegie Institution for Science.  Used with permission)

(Images in red, green, and blue show the location of the newly discovered dwarf planet nicknamed “Biden.” Image by Scott S. Sheppard, Carnegie Institution for Science. Used with permission)

John McDevitt John McDevitt
John McDevitt has been a reporter and editor at KYW Newsradio 1060...
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By John McDevitt

VILLANOVA, Pa. (CBS) — Could the recent discovery of a “dwarf” planet in our solar system hint that a separate planet, bigger than earth, exists within our astronomical neighborhood?

Ten years ago, scientists found a dwarf planet in the most distant reaches of the solar system and named it Sedna.

Now, another has been found, its discovery announced just this week. It’s official designation is 2012 VP113. The “VP” in the name inspired its nickname: Biden.

Dr. Edward Guinan, who teaches astronomy at Villanova University, says the latest discovery leads to speculation that yet another rogue planet is out there.

“This and the other object that was found ten years ago implies there is something out there, 100 times more distant than the earth from the sun, that’s perturbing the orbits of this dwarf planet and the other one found ten years ago called Sedna.”

The discovery of Sedna a decade ago led to the dethroning of Pluto from planet to dwarf planet status.

Experts say the more bodies like Biden that are discovered will help scientists understand how the solar system came to be.

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