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Newly Discovered 10th Planet

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 2:32 pm
by Flaming_cows
Gina Keating wrote: LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California astronomer has discovered what he believes is the 10th planet in our solar system, a group of NASA-funded researchers said on Friday.

The new planet, known as 2003UB313, has been identified as the most distant object ever detected orbiting the sun, California Institute of Technology astronomer Michael Brown said.

Brown and colleagues Chad Trujillo and David Rabinowitz have submitted a name for the planet to the International Astronomical Union and are confident it will be designated a planet. Brown did not reveal the proposed name.

The procedure for approving the new planet is somewhat hazy as no new bodies have received that designation since Pluto was discovered in 1930, Brown said.

"We hope that it's fairly noncontroversial among those who believe Pluto is a planet," Brown said. "I would say get out your pens and start rewriting the textbooks today."

The planet is located about 9.7 billion miles from the sun and is about 1 1/2 times the size of Pluto, the researchers said.

The new planet orbits the sun once every 560 years and is now at its farthest point from Earth, he said. In about 280 years, the planet will be as close as Neptune, he said.

Like Pluto, the object's surface is believed to be predominantly methane, but its size -- about 1,700 miles in diameter -- qualifies it as a planet, Brown said. Earth is about 7,900 miles in diameter.

The new planet is believed to be part of the Kuiper Belt, a large ring of icy objects that orbit beyond Neptune and are believed to be remnants of the material that formed the solar system.

Brown said the new planet was detected in January by the Samuel Oschin Telescope at the Palomar Observatory near San Diego.

The Caltech team, funded in part by NASA, had been waiting to announce the find until they had completed their studies, but changed their minds after a hacker threatened to go public with their data, Brown said.

Their finding comes a day after a Spanish team of astronomers announced the discovery of another relatively large object orbiting in the solar system's outer reaches. That object, Brown said, was about three-quarters the size of Pluto.

The new planet went undiscovered for so long because its orbit is tilted at a 45-degree angle to the orbital plane of the other planets, and travels in an elliptical orbit, Brown said.

The team had been scanning the skies with the 48-inch (120-cm) telescope for five years, searching for large bodies orbiting in higher planes than that of the Earth and other planets.

The new planet is so far away that an observer standing on its surface could cover the view of the sun with the head of a pin, Brown said. It was sufficiently bright, however, for amateur astronomers to track it in the early morning sky, he said.


Supposedly the proposed name is Xena. Thoughts?

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 4:47 pm
by war-hawk
sounds cool, but xena is a weird name

Um...

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 5:37 pm
by Riamus
Ok, I don't think that's an appropriate name at all. If a planet is found within our solar system, we should stick to the current naming method of planets (Greek gods). I don't believe in Greek gods, but it is just weird to change the naming scheme. There are plenty of Greek gods to choose from.

Besides... I can't imagine a planet with the same name as "The Warrior Princess." :)

I'm curious of the accuracy of this report. Years back, we supposedly found another planet out past Pluto. That was obviously incorrect back then. Will this end up also being incorrect?

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 6:13 pm
by Xamence
Sure is a weird name.

How is it pronounced? Zena or Exena?

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 6:18 pm
by ScionCrow
Xamence wrote: Sure is a weird name.

How is it pronounced? Zena or Exena?


Zena


Riamus, would that "planet" be Sedna? I've heard back then about it... I did hear that it was a bit smaller than Pluto so, couldn't really be classified as a planet itself...

Re: Um...

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 6:50 pm
by Flaming_cows
Riamus wrote: Ok, I don't think that's an appropriate name at all. If a planet is found within our solar system, we should stick to the current naming method of planets (Greek gods). I don't believe in Greek gods, but it is just weird to change the naming scheme. There are plenty of Greek gods to choose from.

We're actually using Roman gods, but they're more or less equivalent. I think the Xena suggestion is just some astronomy-nerd's obsession/fantasy. ;)

Ah

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 7:04 pm
by Riamus
Yeah, Sedna sounds familiar... it was years back, so I can't really remember for certain.

Ok, Roman gods. I stand corrected. I forget my Greek/Roman history. I remember one of them took the gods from the other and renamed them a bit, but they were still basically the same gods. Of course, they added more, but anyhow.

So, it should be another Roman god if it's in this solar system, and if it's outside this solar system, it should be called something else. I prefer sticking to a current (and long-lasting) theme rather than just throwing out some random change out of nowhere. :)

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 9:13 pm
by A.I. BOT
I think it should be named phpBB ;) lol kidding. I think it should be named Maia ( Goddess of Growth ) represents our new knowledge of our solar system OR Juno ( Queen of the Gods )..Jupider is king of the gods so Jupider is all lonly it needs Queen ^^

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 9:39 pm
by warmweer
A.I. BOT wrote: I... I think it should be named ...[CUT]... Juno ( Queen of the Gods ).

Juno is out of the question since that name was given to one of the asteroids (in the asteroid belt).

:) Never thought reading I. Asimov (years if not decennia ago) would bear fruit on a bulletin board :)

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 9:40 pm
by amjohnno
A.I. BOT wrote: I think it should be named Maia ( Goddess of Growth ) represents our new knowledge of our solar system OR Juno ( Queen of the Gods )..Jupider is king of the gods so Jupider is all lonly it needs Queen ^^


Unfortunately, Maia is already the name of a star in the Pleiades cluster, and Juno is the name of an asteroid. I don't know if they'd confuse matters by having two cellestial objects with the same name.

Edit: Ah; beat me to it :)

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 9:45 pm
by A.I. BOT
Man who the hell names stuff. Keep the gods for the planets sheehs, so a damn asteroid is queen of the gods and married ot jupider eh :P?

Re: Um...

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 9:58 pm
by warmweer
Riamus wrote: ...If a planet is found within our solar system, we should stick to the current naming method of planets (Greek gods)...

Mercurius, Venus, ?, Mars, Jupiter, Saturnus, Uranus, Neptunus, Pluto : sounds more like Roman to me.

And what about the earth? Is Gaia the offical name? (I'll search later).

Re: Um...

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 10:31 pm
by MHobbit
warmweer wrote: Mercurius, Venus, ?, Mars, Jupiter, Saturnus, Uranus, Neptunus, Pluto : sounds more like Roman to me.


We've already established that; read the posts above yours. ;)
And what about the earth? Is Gaia the offical name? (I'll search later).


No. Gaia is the name of the Earth in mythology, for one.

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 10:48 pm
by ScionCrow
I've heard that Earth was actually named "Terra"... or, that's what I know anyway...

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 11:06 pm
by Heimidal
The Earth's name is "Earth". Notice the capitalization. Similarly, the Moon's name is "Moon", the Sun's name is "Sun", and our Solar System's name is "Solar System".

By giving these common designations to our planet, moon, sun, and solar system, it reinforces their importance and recognizes them as being "THE Earth". All of these designations are what is recognized by the Interational Astronomical Union.

Gaia, Terra, Luna, Sol, etc are all names given by writers to enhance or beautify a given body's designation. They are by no means official.