07/30/2005: Of Planets and Black Holes...
Well – when I last visited Pluto…it sure looked like a planet to me…
Astronomers Claim Discovery of 10th Planet
By Alicia Chang (Assoc. Press):
”Astronomers announced Friday that they have discovered a new planet larger than Pluto in orbit around the sun. The finding will likely renew debate over what exactly is a planet and whether Pluto should keep its status.
The unnamed object - the farthest-known object in the solar system - is currently 9 billion miles away from the sun, or about three times Pluto's current distance from the sun. Astronomers do not know its exact size, but its brightness shows that it is at least as large as Pluto and could be up to 1 1/2 times bigger…
"This is the first object to be confirmed to be larger than Pluto in the outer solar system,'' Michael Brown, a planetary scientist at the California Institute of Technology, said in a telephone briefing.
The briefing was hastily arranged after Brown received word that a secure Web site containing the discovery was hacked and the hacker threatened to release the information. [and What's with these "hackers"???]
Brown labeled the object as a 10th planet, but there are scientists who dispute the classification of Pluto as such. There is no official definition for a planet and setting standards like size limits or orbital patterns potentially invites other objects to take the "planet'' label.
The new planet is rocky and icy, similar to Pluto, and is the third brightest object located in the Kuiper belt, a disc of icy debris beyond the orbit of Neptune, Brown said.
It has taken scientists this long to find the planet because its orbit is at an angle compared to the orbits of most planets….”
But, as I was being chased by them jealous and pesky Black Holes, I never noticed yet another planet in the vicinity myself.
Now the folks at the Hayden Planetarium will have to update their Digital Universe to include this new Planetary Heavenly Body (once it’s named) in the fields of orbit around our Sun.
Always more to do in this universe. Sheesh!! -- an astronomer’s work is never done!!! LOL
Karen on 07.30.05 @ 07:16 AM CST