In astro-name calling news, that oddball Sedna is not the only freak in the Oort cloud, if you catch my meaning.
A new object, 2012 VP113, was tracked by Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Science Institution in Washington, DC (CSI: Washington), and his twin brother Chad Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii.
2012 VP113 resides in a rundown part of the inner Oort cloud, a typical place for flukes and oddballs to hang out. Until now, the lone resident was an oddball dwarf planet, named Sedna after the unusually specialized mythological Inuit goddess of Arctic sea creatures (including but not limited to scyphozoan jellies, planktonic pteropod mollusks, and the arctic char).
Like Sedna, 2012 VP113 is also a freakish oddball. It’s jokingly nicknamed VP because it is Very Pink, just like Vice President Joe Biden. VP is currently the third farthest object in the solar system, after Sedna and Eris, named after the mythological Greek goddess of double-dog dares.
“These objects are not unique,” Sheppard said. “In fact, they’re a dime a dozen. We’d pretty much ignore them if they weren’t such oddballs and freaks.”
Sheppard and Trujillo estimate there are probably thousands of similar objects in the inner Oort cloud. (Sheppard counted three, and Trujillo counted 9,452, which averages out to thousands.) The astronomers are seeking confirmation from a large group of teenage girls, who are just as good at counting. Hot and/or Bright Stars Tina Fey and Lindsay Lohan (seen below discussing how math can be used in non-judgmental ways in the Oort cloud) are expected to spearhead the project.
Pictures of VP (top) show it to be just another white dot. Unlike red and shiny Sedna, astrocolorist Miranda Johnson has decided the newfound object will be pink and much fainter, in honor of Joe Biden (shown below). By contrast, Earth is mostly blue and green, and is easily visible to the naked eye during the day.
A source close to Miss Johnson told reporters that she has asked Mrs. Marino for a new box of crayons, causing some to speculate that her magenta crayon may be getting kind of stubby and hard to hold.
In a separate discovery, a missing pair of rings was found to be in the possession of an asteroid-like interloper named Chariklo. Chariklo, named for the mythological Inuit goddess of things that happen on Thursday (including but not limited to the weekly staff meeting, Grey’s Anatomy, and studying for that spelling test on Friday), is a known associate of Mike Brown, the notorious “Pluto Killer”, responsible for numerous deaths in the Oort cloud, as well as the mysterious disappearance of the sun-diving Comet ISON. CSI: Washington continues to investigate.
How little Chariklo got its rings is the subject of an investigative report by Rudyard Kipling in the April issue of Just So True Crime Stories, on sale now.
Point at VP (go ahead, everyone else does) and click to read the original story.
Editor’s Note: Since this article was first written, 2012 VP113 has been discovered by the Kepler space telescope and named Kepler-2012VP113. Vice President Biden was discovered a week later and renamed Kepler-20019.