NASA / JPL-Caltech

Scientists Found A New Dwarf Planet In Our Solar System

The planet, known as 2014 UZ224, is about 8.5 billion miles from the sun.

By Stephanie Liebergen | October 11, 2016

There's a new dwarf planet to welcome to the solar system. 

A team of scientists in Michigan found the distant planet while working on mapping distant galaxies. 

The dwarf planet, known as 2014 UZ224, is 330 miles wide and about 8.5 billion miles from the sun. That means its orbit takes 1,100 years to complete.

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This discovery joins a growing list of dwarf planets on the outer edges of our solar system. 

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Pluto is one of the original dwarf planets. It's about 1,500 miles wide and takes 248 years to orbit the sun. 

Oblong dwarf planet Haumea has one of the fastest rotations in our solar system, turning on its axis every four hours. It takes 285 years to orbit the sun.

Makemake is smaller than Pluto and a bit farther from the sun, making its orbit equivalent to 310 years. 

Even farther away is Eris, and it's actually outside the Kuiper Belt. Eris' orbit takes 557 years.

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We can thank Eris for Pluto's demotion from a planet to a dwarf planet. When first discovered, scientists thought Eris was larger than Pluto, and that's what prompted the International Astronomical Union to update its definition of a planet. It's that new definition that booted Pluto to the dwarf planet category. 

It takes scientists two to three years to make the discovery of a new dwarf planet official. So hopefully we'll have a better name for 2014 UZ224 sometime soon. 

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