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Author Topic:   New solar system 'planet' discovered
spaceuk
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From: Staffs, UK
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posted 07-29-2005 06:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A possible new planet of the solar system has been discovered that is way beyond Pluto orbit . It may be even bigger than Pluto and even the Sedna 'planet' discovery of a few months ago.

Phill
spaceuk

DavidH
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posted 07-29-2005 09:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anyone have a link to more info?

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"America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow." - Commander Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Mission, 11 December 1972

FFrench
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posted 07-29-2005 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some good photos of it here:
http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=17528

Discovered right here in San Diego, just like Sedna! We run behind-the-scenes tours of these telescopes, and the astronomers give us great insights into discoveries like this.

Francis.
www.rhfleet.org

Ben
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posted 07-29-2005 06:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA is holding an emergency news conference right now (not on tv). It is more than 1.5 times LARGER than Pluto and they have named it our solar system's tenth planet!

Pretty cool.

And this means now, that nine planets is history. Either we have 8 or ten+ I would say.

[This message has been edited by Ben (edited July 29, 2005).]

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-29-2005 07:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA Scientists Discover Tenth Planet

A planet larger than Pluto has been discovered in the outlying regions of the solar system.

The planet was discovered using the Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory near San Diego, Calif. The discovery was announced today by planetary scientist Dr. Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., whose research is partly funded by NASA.

The planet is a typical member of the Kuiper belt, but its sheer size in relation to the nine known planets means that it can only be classified as a planet, Brown said. Currently about 97 times further from the sun than the Earth, the planet is the farthest-known object in the solar system, and the third brightest of the Kuiper belt objects.

"It will be visible with a telescope over the next six months and is currently almost directly overhead in the early-morning eastern sky, in the constellation Cetus," said Brown, who made the discovery with colleagues Chad Trujillo, of the Gemini Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and David Rabinowitz, of Yale University, New Haven, Conn., on January 8.

Brown, Trujillo and Rabinowitz first photographed the new planet with the 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope on October 31, 2003. However, the object was so far away that its motion was not detected until they reanalyzed the data in January of this year. In the last seven months, the scientists have been studying the planet to better estimate its size and its motions.

"It's definitely bigger than Pluto," said Brown, who is a professor of planetary astronomy.

Scientists can infer the size of a solar system object by its brightness, just as one can infer the size of a faraway light bulb if one knows its wattage. The reflectance of the planet is not yet known. Scientists can not yet tell how much light from the sun is reflected away, but the amount of light the planet reflects puts a lower limit on its size.

"Even if it reflected 100 percent of the light reaching it, it would still be as big as Pluto," says Brown. "I'd say it's probably one and a half times the size of Pluto, but we're not sure yet of the final size.

"We are 100 percent confident that this is the first object bigger than Pluto ever found in the outer solar system," Brown added.

The size of the planet is limited by observations using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, which has already proved its mettle in studying the heat of dim, faint, faraway objects such as the Kuiper-belt bodies. Because Spitzer is unable to detect the new planet, the overall diameter must be less than 2,000 miles, said Brown.

A name for the new planet has been proposed by the discoverers to the International Astronomical Union, and they are awaiting the decision of this body before announcing the name.

Rob Joyner
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posted 07-30-2005 01:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Click on the link provided by Francis, third from the top. You'll see three photos side by side.
For a slight 3D effect, look at either area between the photos and cross your eyes enough to focus.

Davide
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posted 08-01-2005 04:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Davide   Click Here to Email Davide     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have found the planet in an old photographic plate taken in 1989 from the UK Schmidt Telescope. Naturally, that time it passed undiscovered.
I posted an image here at http://www.skyfactory.org

Davide

DavidH
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posted 08-01-2005 09:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Am I the only one who thinks they're being hasty in declaring it a planet?

It's a KBO. A big KBO, but a KBO nonetheless. I wonder if we're not opening ourselves up for problems down the road by setting this precedent.

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"America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow." - Commander Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Mission, 11 December 1972

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-01-2005 09:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In my opinion, if its a KBO, then so is Pluto (though to be fair, I've long thought Pluto never really earned its planet distinction).

Either we declassify Pluto as a planet or Xena (as this new KBO has been unofficially named) is one, especially in light of the fact that the only consistent planet-defining quality thus far has been size.

DavidH
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posted 08-01-2005 10:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Personally, I wouldn't be opposed to deplanetizing Pluto.

Arguably, though, if someone wanted to keep Pluto around for sentimental reasons, you could make their argument that, unlike "Xena" (urgh), Pluto, for at least a portion of its orbit, is located within the "planetary" portion of the solar system. I'm just guessing, but I imagine bodies that share both size and proximity are going to be pretty rare.

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"America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow." - Commander Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Mission, 11 December 1972

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-01-2005 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Personally, I like the name choice of Xena, as (someone else said on another e-list) it opens us to a new genre of appropriate-sounding names that already border on classic mythology (i.e. Planet Joxer).

Names aside, can you please define the "planetary portion" of a solar system, especially as we do not have a firm understanding of planetary formation? And so Pandora's box has been opened... cats beware.

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited August 01, 2005).]

Astro Bill
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posted 08-01-2005 05:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Personally, I like the name choice of Xena, as (someone else said on another e-list) it opens us to a new genre of appropriate-sounding names that already border on classic mythology (i.e. Planet Joxer).

Names aside, can you please define the "planetary portion" of a solar system, especially as we do not have a firm understanding of planetary formation? And so Pandora's box has been opened... cats beware.

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited August 01, 2005).]



Robert:

This topic has been discussed previously at length in this forum: http://collectspace.com/ubb/Forum23/HTML/001490.html - "Is Pluto a planet or not?

The recently discovered "planet" has apparently been declared to be our 10th planet by the news media because it is a good story. However, this makes SIZE the determining factor in deciding whether a new discovery is a planet. It also leaves Sedna and Quaoar in Limbo. These two discoveries in recent years started the debate about Ploto's questionable title of PLANET.

Sedna and Quaoar must be included in any debate about the definition of a planet. They are smaller than Pluto but they qualify in every other factor. If you read the link above to the prior thread, you will conclude that there is no definition of what a planet is.

In my opinion, this new discovery is so far away that it will probably never be visited by any spacecraft - in our lifetime.

[This message has been edited by Astro Bill (edited August 01, 2005).]

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-01-2005 07:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Astro Bill:
The recently discovered "planet" has apparently been declared to be our 10th planet by the news media because it is a good story.
Just a small factual correction: it was NASA, rather than the media, that declared so-called "Xena" our 10th planet. You need only reference the NASA release I reprinted earlier in this thread; a release that NASA itself gave the headline, "NASA Scientists Discover Tenth Planet".

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited August 01, 2005).]

Astro Bill
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posted 08-01-2005 09:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert:

Thanks for the clarification. However, I was referring to the many reporters who apparently just read the NASA release without considering the remifications of what they were saying. All the major networks just repeated the news release without mentioning Sedna, Quaoar, or the fact that there is no definition of a planet.

Yes, NASA may have started the discussion of a possible 10th planet because it was also good press for them in the midst of all the recent bad press. What I objected to was the absence of any mention of Sedna and Quaoar, two "new worlds" discovered in recent years in space. Where does that leave them? They should not be ignored.

If a definition of a planet is to be considered by the IAU, it must include "objects" like Sedna and Quaoar. I do not think that it would be proper or even scientific IMHO to say or even intimate that "A planet is any object in space that is the size of Pluto or bigger, among other qualifications (distance from the Sun, inclination to the other eight planets, spherical, not an asteroid or comet, etc.).

Before the discovery of "Xena", there was a brief discussion of the definition of a "planet" by scientists. But suddenly with this discovery all discussion is over and we apparently have a 10th planet as declared by NASA.

In my opinion, this "object" is too far out in space in an area that is rich in such objects. Some scientists suggest that there are 70,000 objects of various size in the Kuiper Belt. Does it make sense to call the larger ones planets and the rest KBO's or planetoids or sub-planets or monor planets?

IMHO the "planets" should end at Pluto and any other discoveries should be KBO's - Kuiper Belt Objects. Otherwise, we will someday have over 100 "planets" for children to memorize in school.

DavidH
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posted 08-02-2005 09:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space.com has a decent article about the decision to announce 2003UB313 as a "planet."
http://space.com/scienceastronomy/050802_planet_definition.html

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"America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow." - Commander Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Mission, 11 December 1972

Astro Bill
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posted 08-02-2005 10:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by DavidH:
Space.com has a decent article about the decision to announce 2003UB313 as a "planet."
http://space.com/scienceastronomy/050802_planet_definition.html


David:

I think that it would be more appropriate to continue the discussion of the definition of a "planet" on this CollectSpace message board instead of referring members to another message board. I find the Space.com message board too difficult to use and not directly related to the collecting aspect of this hobby. What did they say there about what makes a "planet"? We should continue the discussion HERE.

DavidH
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posted 08-02-2005 10:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
By no means was I referring anyone to the Space.com message board. cS is the only space-related message board I post on.

My link was to an article that had information about the topic that was being discussed. I find it helpful sometimes to supplement opinions with facts.

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"America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow." - Commander Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Mission, 11 December 1972

Astro Bill
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posted 08-02-2005 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks again David. I will connect to the link to Space.com to get their definition of a "Planet."

Rodina
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posted 08-02-2005 05:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rodina   Click Here to Email Rodina     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sure, if Pluto were discovered today, it would just be a KBO. But it wasn't, so it's grandfathered in.

That said, Pluto's only distinction is it is (or was until Xena) the largest such object. So size is the ultimate distinction. Nothing wrong with having 10 or 12 or 20 planets in the solar system, far as I'm concerned. I don't doubt in another 25 years, there will be dozens of Sedna-plus sized objects found, maybe even ones bigger than Mercury. Over time, there will come to be know three groups known as the Inner (Mer-Ven-Earth-Mars), Outer (Jup-Sat-Ur-NEp), and Distant Solar System (Pluto and KBOs).

But Pluto's a planet and always will be, just like the West Indies remain the West Indies -- and they have absolutely nothing to with India except a case of mistaken identity.

All times are CT (US)

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