Neha Patil (Editor)

2012 VP113

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MPC designation
2012 VP113

Observation arc
739 days (2.02 yr)

Minor planet category
TNO, sednoid

2012 VP113

Discovered by
Scott Sheppard Chad Trujillo Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (807)

Discovery date
5 November 2012 announced: 26 March 2014

438.11 AU (65.540 Tm) (Q)

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. Its discovery was announced on 26 March 2014. It has an absolute magnitude (H) of 4.0, which makes it likely to be a dwarf planet, and it is accepted as a dwarf planet by some. It is expected to be about half the size of Sedna and similar in size to Huya. The similarity of 2012 VP113 's orbit to the orbits of 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.


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. 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.


2012 VP113 was first observed on 5 November 2012 with NOAO's 4-meter Víctor M. Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Carnegie’s 6.5-meter Magellan telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile was used to determine its orbit and surface properties. Before being announced to the public, it was only tracked by Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (807) and Las Campanas Observatory (304). It has an observation arc of about 2 years. Two precovery measurements from 22 October 2011 have been reported. 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.


2012 VP113 has the largest perihelion distance of any known object in the Solar System. Its last perihelion was around 1979, at a distance of 80 AU; it is currently 83 AU from the Sun. Only eight other Solar System objects are known to have perihelia larger than 47 AU: Sedna (76 AU), 2014 FZ71 (56 AU), 2015 FJ345 (52 AU), 2014 FC72 (52 AU), 2004 XR190 (51 AU), 2010 GB174 (48 AU), 2014 SR349 (48 AU) and 2004 VN112 (47 AU). The paucity of bodies with perihelia at 50–75 AU appears not to be an observational artifact.

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


2012 VP113 Wikipedia