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New 10th/11th? Planet(s) Discovered

post #1 of 5
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So for some time, there have been differing opinions in the Astronomical community as to whether or not Pluto should count as a planet or a large Kuiper Belt Object.

Many have suggested that Pluto's primarily icy composition and relatively small size mean it shouldn't technically be classed as a planet, and ought to be downgraded to the title of 'planetesimal' or large KBO.

Alert space fans in the last few years may recall this debate was rekindled with the discoveries of Quaoar and Sedna

Friday started with news of a new discovery beyond Pluto of a body tentatively (but unofficially) being referred to as Plutino, and officially referred to as 2003 EL61, which is known to have its own moon, but is thought to be smaller than Pluto and Sedna.
Quote:
Observations of 2003 EL61 from the Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory on May 6, 2004. These three images taken 1-1/2 hours apart show the very distant object and its moon slowly moving across the sky. Credit: Mike Brown, Caltech

For reference, the current size chart as of Friday morning was as follows


Fast forward ahead a few more hours, and another announcement rocked the astronomy text publishers, already scrambling for their white-out after news of "2003 EL61".

Turns out a much larger body has been found... about three times further out, and this one is likely 2100 miles in diameter.


Quote:
This time-lapse image of a newfound planet in our solar system, called 2003UB313, was taken on Oct. 21, 2003, using the Samuel Oschin Telescope at the Palomar Observatory near San Diego, Calif. The planet, circled in red, is seen moving across a field of stars. The three images were taken about 90 minutes apart. Credit: Samuel Oschin Telescope, Palomar Observatory

2003 UB313 is significantly larger than Pluto, and possibly larger than our Moon, yet because of the controversies in the debate over what counts as a planet, planetesimal, or KBO, it is likely that it will struggle to get the title of "Tenth planet".

NASA's press release pegs it as the 10th planet.

For the geeks who wonder why these rocket scientists couldn't make up their mind before announcing stuff like this, it should be noted that all of the researchers had planned to delay their announcements until further study and verification could be performed, but then admit that a hacker busted into their website and forced them to publish early.

Quote:
The team had hoped to analyze the data further before announcing the planet but were forced to do so Friday evening because word had leaked out, Brown said.

"Somebody hacked our website," he said, and "they were planning to make [the data] public."

Astrologers everywhere are claiming the discovery was unforseen, but many have offered to update your charts to include the new Planet(s) for only $49.95.
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"I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them" -Isaac Asimov
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post #2 of 5
Beautiful post.

I was confused yesterday. Started in the morning with the Spanish team announcing their findings of a very bright object but likely smaller than Pluto and then in the afternoon I started hearing about Americans claiming a tenth planet. I know the smaller body was also observed by some American teams and I thought that they may have been jumping on the bandwagon. I took me a moment to realize they were talking about two different objects. Its not every day you add two large objects to the solar system.

In terms of what to call a planet, I think pluto seams to be the cutoff point. Bigger and its a planet.

Wonder what they are going to call them??
post #3 of 5
apparently one of these 10/11th whatever planets is going to be called...
XENA.

and lesbian amateur astronomers around the world rejoice

mmm
XENA....


.........
i am confused too, its like this, ok, what is in our solar system and what is not? i say there should be 12 planets in our solar system... battlestar galactica, lords of kobol, star signs, months of the year, and all that... yeah, 12 sounds cool anything past the "12th planet" should be called in the "Outer Rim" ala star wars (except in this case it is the outer rim of the solar system not the galaxy). see? fantasy and sci-fi is good for the kids
post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally posted by sunilraman
i am confused too, its like this, ok, what is in our solar system and what is not? i say there should be 12 planets in our solar system... battlestar galactica, lords of kobol, star signs, months of the year, and all that... yeah, 12 sounds cool anything past the "12th planet" should be called in the "Outer Rim" ala star wars (except in this case it is the outer rim of the solar system not the galaxy). see? fantasy and sci-fi is good for the kids

Actually the new planet has an elliptical orbit that at time brings it closer to the sun than Pluto. So Outer Rim doesn't always work.
post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally posted by Carson O'Genic
Actually the new planet has an elliptical orbit that at time brings it closer to the sun than Pluto. So Outer Rim doesn't always work.

*shakes fist* damn those elliptical orbits!!
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