An international team of astronomers found a planet in the Solar new planet ‒ Higey, which was previously mistaken for an asteroid. The discovery was made by the receiver SPHERE, installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) the European southern Observatory (ESO).
Scientists were able to make sure that Gigeya meets all four requirements to be considered a dwarf planet, it rotates in orbit around the Sun; neither is anyone’s companion; may not clear the area of its orbit from other objects and has a mass sufficient to ensure that under the influence of its own gravity to take on a spherical shape.
It is reported that the Hygeia diameter of slightly more than 430 kilometers, while the largest dwarf planet out of the five officially recognized ‒ Pluto has a diameter of about 2,400 kilometers.
It is noted that astronomers first observed Gigau with resolution sufficient to study its surface.
“Thanks to the unique capabilities of the receiver SPHERE for the VLT, one of the world’s most powerful devices for imaging, we could directly determine the shape of Hygeia, which was approximately spherical,” said lead researcher Pierre Vernazza of the Astrophysics laboratory in Marseille (France).
According to him, thanks to the images Gigeya may be reclassified to dwarf planet, to date the smallest in the Solar system.