2012 VP113

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2012 VP113
2012 VP113 orbit with solar system.png
Orbit simulated with solar system, and position in 2017. (top and side views)
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[4]
Epoch 13 January 2016 (JD 2457400.5)
Uncertainty parameter 5
Observation arc 739 days (2.02 yr)
Earliest precovery date 22 October 2011
Aphelion 438.11 AU (65.540 Tm) (Q)
Perihelion 80.486 AU (12.0405 Tm) (q)
265.8 AU (39.76 Tm) (a)[2]
Eccentricity 0.68960 (e)
4175.54 yr (1525115 d)
4300 yr (barycentric)[3]
3.2115° (M)
0° 0m 0.85s /day (n)
Inclination 24.047° (i)
90.818° (Ω)
293.72° (ω)
Earth MOID 79.5621 AU (11.90232 Tm)
Jupiter MOID 75.862 AU (11.3488 Tm)
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 300–1000 km[5]
450 km (assumed)[5][6]
600 km[7]
0.15 (Nature; 2014)[6]
0.1 (Brown website)[7]
(moderately red)
V−R = 0.52 ± 0.04[6]
B−V = 0.92
4.0 (MPC)[8]
4.0 (JPL)[4]

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, greater than that of Sedna's.[9] Though its perihelion is farther, 2012 VP113 has an aphelion only about half that of Sedna's. Its discovery was announced on 26 March 2014.[6][10] It has an absolute magnitude (H) of 4.0,[8] which makes it likely to be a dwarf planet,[7] and it is accepted as a dwarf planet by some.[11] It is expected to be about half the size of Sedna and similar in size to Huya.[5] The similarity of the orbit of 2012 VP113 to other known extreme trans-Neptunian objects led Scott Sheppard and Chad Trujillo to suggest that an undiscovered super-Earth in the outer Solar System is shepherding these distant objects into similar type orbits.[6]

Its surface is thought to have a pink tinge, resulting from chemical changes produced by the effect of radiation on frozen water, methane, and carbon dioxide.[12] 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.[6]



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.

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.[13] Carnegie’s 6.5-meter Magellan telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile was used to determine its orbit and surface properties.[13] Before being announced to the public, it was only tracked by Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (807) and Las Campanas Observatory (304).[8] It has an observation arc of about 2 years.[4] Two precovery measurements from 22 October 2011 have been reported.[8] 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, who at the time of discovery, was Vice President (VP) of the United States.[10]


2012 VP113 has the largest perihelion distance of any known object in the Solar System.[14] Its last perihelion was around 1979,[a] at a distance of 80 AU;[4] it is currently 84 AU from the Sun. Only nine other Solar System objects are known to have perihelia larger than 47 AU: Sedna (76 AU), 2014 FZ71 (56 AU), 2014 FC72 (52 AU), 2004 XR190 (51 AU), 2015 FJ345 (51 AU), 2013 SY99 (50 AU), 2010 GB174 (49 AU), 2014 SR349 (48 AU) and (474640) 2004 VN112 (47 AU).[14] The paucity of bodies with perihelia at 50–75 AU appears not to be an observational artifact.[6]

It is possibly a member of a hypothesized Hills cloud.[5][13][15] It has a perihelion, argument of perihelion, and current position in the sky similar to those of Sedna.[5] 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°.[6] This could indicate a similar formation mechanism for these bodies.[6] (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.[16] The orbital architecture of the trans-Plutonian region may signal the presence of more than one planet.[17][18] 2012 VP113 could even be captured from another planetary system.[11] 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.[5]


Sedna compared to some other very distant orbiting bodies including 2015 DB216 (orbit wrong), 2000 OO67, 2004 VN112, 2005 VX3, 2006 SQ372, 2007 TG422, 2007 DA61, 2009 MS9, 2010 GB174, 2010 NV1, 2010 BK118, 2012 DR30, 2012 VP113, 2013 BL76, 2013 AZ60, 2013 RF98, 2015 ER61

See also[edit]

Have very large aphelion


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


  1. ^ a b "MPEC 2014-F40 : 2012 VP113". IAU Minor Planet Center. 2014-03-26. Retrieved 2014-03-26.  (K12VB3P)
  2. ^ Malhotra, Renu; Volk, Kathryn; Wang, Xianyu (2016). "Corralling a distant planet with extreme resonant Kuiper belt objects". The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 824 (2): L22. arXiv:1603.02196Freely accessible. Bibcode:2016ApJ...824L..22M. doi:10.3847/2041-8205/824/2/L22. 
  3. ^ Horizons output. "Barycentric Osculating Orbital Elements for 2012 VP113". Retrieved 2016-01-23.  (Ephemeris Type:Elements and Center:@0)
  4. ^ a b c d e "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: (2012 VP113)" (last observation: 2013-10-30 (arc=~2 year)). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Archived from the original on 9 June 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i 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. PMID 24670765. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-12-16. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ a b c d "2012 VP113 Orbit" (arc=739 days over 3 oppositions). IAU Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  9. ^ Chang, Kenneth (2014-03-26). "A New Planetoid Reported in Far Reaches of Solar System". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  10. ^ a b Witze, Alexandra (2014-03-26). "Dwarf planet stretches Solar System's edge". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2014.14921. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ Sample, Ian (2014-03-26). "Dwarf planet discovery hints at a hidden Super Earth in solar system". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  13. ^ a b c "NASA Supported Research Helps Redefine Solar System's Edge". NASA. 2014-03-26. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  14. ^ a b "JPL Small-Body Database Search Engine: q > 47 (AU)". JPL Solar System Dynamics. Retrieved 2018-03-12. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ "A new object at the edge of our Solar System discovered". Physorg.com. 2014-03-26. 
  17. ^ de la Fuente Marcos, Carlos; de la Fuente Marcos, Raúl (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:1406.0715Freely accessible. Bibcode:2014MNRAS.443L..59D. doi:10.1093/mnrasl/slu084. 
  18. ^ de la Fuente Marcos, Carlos; de la Fuente Marcos, Raúl; 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:1410.6307Freely accessible. Bibcode:2015MNRAS.446.1867D. doi:10.1093/mnras/stu2230. 
  19. ^ a b "AstDyS-2, Asteroids - Dynamic Site". Retrieved 2018-04-03. Objects with distance from Sun over 59 AU 
  20. ^ Astronomer Michele Bannister (29 Mar 2018)

External links[edit]