IT is not yet official but a new dwarf planet has been found in our solar system. It is tentatively named ‘Hygiea’.
- So far, five dwarf planets have been officially recognized as part of our solar system.
- Famous among them is Pluto which had been downgraded from the status of a planet.
- The other four are:
- Now, Hygiea is the new claimant to the dwarf planet status.
- Located between Mars and Juputer, Hygiea is so far considered as an asteroid.
- The new dwarf planet was found by astronomers using the SPHERE instrument of the European Space Agency at Very Large Telescope (VLT).
- If Hygiea qualifies for the dwarf planet status of the International Astronomical Union, it will become the smallest dwarf planet.
- IAU has set four criteria for a
- It must orbit around the Sun
- It is not a moon to any object
- It has not cleared the neighbourhood around the orbit
- It has enough mass that its own gravity pulls it into a spherical shape
- Hygiea already satisfies the first three criteria.
- With VLT observations, the fourth requirement has also been confirmed by the astronomers.
- Very Large Telescope (VLT) is the world’s most advanced visible-light telescope.
- It is totally operated by the European Space Agency.
- VLT is located in the Atacama desert.
- There are four individual telescopes.
- Each telescope has a primary mirror of 8.2 across.