(528219) 2008 KV42

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(528219) 2008 KV42 (provisionally designated 2008 KV42, and nicknamed Drac[3]) is a trans-Neptunian object (TNO) and the first one with a retrograde orbit to be discovered. This retrograde motion with an orbital inclination of 103° suggests that it is the missing link between its source in the Hills cloud and Halley-type comets, thus providing further insight into the evolution of the outer Solar System. The object measures no more than 90 kilometers (56 miles) across. With a semi-major axis of 42 AU, it takes about 269 years to complete an orbit around the Sun.

(528219) 2008 KV42
The orbit of 2008 KV42 is nearly perpendicular to the ecliptic.
Discovery [1][2]
Discovered byMauna Kea Obs.
(uncredited: B. Gladman
J. J. Kavelaars, J.-M. Petit)
Discovery siteMauna Kea Obs.
Discovery date31 May 2008
MPC designation(528219) 2008 KV42
2008 KV42 · Drac [3]
Distant[2] · TNO[1]
Centaur (DES)[4]
Damocloid (outer)[5]
Orbital characteristics[1]
Epoch 27 April 2019 (JD 2458600.5)
Uncertainty parameter 3
Observation arc9.86 yr (3,601 days)
Aphelion62.235 AU
Perihelion21.121 AU
41.678 AU
269.07 yr (98,279 days)
0° 0m 13.32s / day
Uranus MOID4.24 AU[2]
Physical characteristics
Mean diameter
50 km[6]
90 km[7]

Officially discovered on 31 May 2008, the discovery was announced on 16 July 2008, by the Canada–France Ecliptic Plane Survey team led by Brett Gladman. The discovery team nicknamed 2008 KV42 "Drac" after Count Dracula.

Discovery and namingEdit

The discovery of 2008 KV42 was announced on 16 July 2008 by the Canada–France Ecliptic Plane Survey team led by Brett Gladman from the University of British Columbia.[9][10] The announcement was made during the "Asteroids, Comets, Meteors" meeting held in Baltimore, Maryland, followed by a Minor Planet Electronic Circular on the same day and an IAU Circular on 18 July. The discovery was made using images obtained on 31 May from the 3.5 meter Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, followed by further observations until 8 July from the Whipple Observatory and Cerro Tololo.[9][11][12]

The discovery team nicknamed 2008 KV42 Drac because of its high inclination in reference to its orbital plane resembling Count Dracula's ability to walk on walls.[13]


2008 KV42 is the first trans-Neptunian object (TNO) with a retrograde orbit to be discovered. With a semi-major axis of 41.7 AU,[1] it was discovered while at a distance of 32 AU and has a perihelion at roughly the distance of Uranus.[9]

The object's 103-degree inclination makes its almost perpendicular to the ecliptic, and is, as of July 2017, one of only six objects known to have inclination (i) > 60° and perihelion (q) > 15 AU. The other six[14][15] are: 2002 XU93,[16] 2007 BP102,[17] 2010 WG9,[18] 2011 KT19,[19] 2014 LM28.[20]

Its unusual orbit suggests that 2008 KV42 may have been perturbed inwards from its source, most likely in the Hills cloud, by an unknown gravitational disturbance. Its discovery may reveal the source regions for Halley-type comets which also have an retrograde orbit, but their origin remains unknown. 2008 KV42 itself is believed to be in an intermediate stage towards becoming a comet, thus helping to further explain the formation and evolution of the outer Solar System.[6][21][3]

Orbits of 2008 KV42 and 2011 KT19

Planet NineEdit

2008 KV42 may even provide evidence of Planet Nine.[22] The Kozai effect inside the mean-motion resonances with Planet Nine may cause a periodic exchange between its inclination and its eccentricity. When the elongated perpendicular centaurs get too close to a giant planet, orbits such as that of 2008 KV42 are created.[23]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: (2008 KV42)" (2018-04-19 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "2008 KV42". Minor Planet Center. 10 April 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Gladman, B.; et al. (2009). "Discovery of the First Retrograde Transneptunian Object". The Astrophysical Journal. 697 (2): L91–L94. Bibcode:2009ApJ...697L..91G. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/697/2/L91.
  4. ^ Marc W. Buie (8 July 2008). "Orbit Fit and Astrometric record for 08KV42". SwRI (Space Science Department). Retrieved 15 September 2008.
  5. ^ Akimasa Nakamura and bas (2 May 2009). "List of Damocloids (Oort cloud asteroids)". Lowell Observatory. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Discovery of the retrograde trans-neptunian object 2008 KV42". cfeps.net. Canada France Ecliptic Plane Survey. 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  7. ^ "Absolute Magnitude (H)". NASA/JPL. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  8. ^ "2008KV42 ephemeris". Universita di Pisa. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  9. ^ a b c "A Retrograde TNO : 2008 KV42". cfeps.net. Canada France Ecliptic Plane Survey. 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  10. ^ Hecht, Jeff (5 September 2008). "Distant object found orbiting Sun backwards". newscientist.com. New Scientist. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  11. ^ "MPEC 2008-O02 : 2008 KV42". minorplanetcenter.net. Minor Planet Center. 16 July 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  12. ^ "Circular No. 8960". cbat.eps.harvard.edu. Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams. 18 July 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  13. ^ O'Neill, Ian (5 September 2008). "Kuiper Belt Object Travelling the Wrong-Way in a One-Way Solar System". universetoday.com. Universe Today. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  14. ^ "MPC list of q>15 and i>60 (HiHq objects)". IAU Minor Planet Center. (a 7th object appears to be removed, 2010 TH192)
  15. ^ "JPL Small-Body Database Search Engine: i > 60 (deg) and q > 15 (AU)". JPL Solar System Dynamics. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  16. ^ 2002 XU93, ssd.jpl.nasa.gov
  17. ^ 2007 BP102, ssd.jpl.nasa.gov
  18. ^ 2010 WG9, ssd.jpl.nasa.gov
  19. ^ 2011 KT19, ssd.jpl.nasa.gov
  20. ^ 2014 LM28, ssd.jpl.nasa.gov
  21. ^ "Announcements – International Team of Astronomers Finds Missing Link". nrc.cnrc.gc.ca. National Research Council. 4 September 2008. Archived from the original on 25 December 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  22. ^ Batygin, Konstantin; Brown, Michael E. (20 January 2016). "Evidence for a distant giant planet in the Solar system". The Astronomical Journal. 151 (2): 22. arXiv:1601.05438. Bibcode:2016AJ....151...22B. doi:10.3847/0004-6256/151/2/22. (called drac in reference)
  23. ^ Brown, Mike (12 February 2016). "Why I believe in Planet Nine". FindPlanetNine.com.

External linksEdit