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Astronomers detect '10th planet'

Astronomers in the United States have announced the discovery of the 10th planet to orbit our Sun. The largest object found in our Solar System since Neptune was discovered in 1846, it was first seen in 2003 but has only now been confirmed as a planet.

Designated 2003 UB313, it is about 3,000km across, a world of rock and ice and somewhat larger than Pluto.

Scientists say it is three times as far away as Pluto, in an orbit at an angle to the orbits of the other planets.





Astronomers think that at some point in its history, Neptune likely flung it into its highly-inclined 44-degree orbit.


It is currently 97 Earth-Sun distances away - more than twice Pluto's average distance from the Sun.

Bigger than Pluto

Its discoverers are Michael Brown of Caltech, Chad Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii, and David Rabinowitz of Yale University.
David Rabinowitz told the BBC News website: "It has been a remarkable day and a remarkable year. 2003 UB313 is probably larger than Pluto. It is fainter than Pluto, but three times farther away.

"Brought to the same distance from the Sun as Pluto, it would be brighter. So today, the world knows that Pluto is not unique. There are other Plutos, just farther out in the Solar System where they are a little harder to find."

It was picked up using the Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory and the 8m Gemini North telescope on Mauna Kea.

Slow mover

Chad Trujillo told the BBC News website: "I feel extremely lucky to be part of a discovery as exciting as this. It's not every day that you find something Pluto-sized or larger!"

"The spectra that we took at the Gemini Observatory are particularly interesting because it shows that the surface of 2003 UB313 is very similar to that of Pluto."

The object was first observed on 21 October 2003, but the team did not see it move in the sky until looking at the same area 15 months later on 8 January 2005.

The researchers say they tried looking for it with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is sensitive to heat radiation, but failed to detect it.

This gives them an upper limit of its size of 3,000 km, they say. The lower limit still makes it larger than Pluto.

The discovery of 2003 UB313 comes just after the announcement of the finding of 2003 EL61, which appears to be a little smaller than Pluto.

Looks like they will have to find another roman god to give it a name
 

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There has been suspicions of a 'Planet X' for years now....hell, it use to be in my science textbooks that were made in the 80s.
 

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Psychotic Robot Master
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This is the countdown to apocalypse boys!
 

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Kirby's right, Planet X is quite an old theory but there has never been much scientific justification for it. I wouldn't go as far to call this discovery exciting though :p.
 

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Kirby said:
There has been suspicions of a 'Planet X' for years now....hell, it use to be in my science textbooks that were made in the 80s.
Yes.. and if half of you here even bothered to research these things, you would already know that this so called "Planet x" exists anyway.

Science can only prove of something which can be known about years before, that is.. if you really look into it hard enough.
 

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Kirby said:
There has been suspicions of a 'Planet X' for years now....hell, it use to be in my science textbooks that were made in the 80s.
I was about to say the same thing.
 

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This is different from most of these theories however... Most of them hinge around the fact that Pluto is the largest (more or less, it's debatable) object in the Kuiper belt of asteroids. Hence the very common 10th planet claims are about other large Kuiper belt objects (basically just very big asteroid-like objects, of which Pluto is one). Some say that Charon, Pluto's moon is a 10th planet also because of its unique orbit with Pluto, its fairly large size, and the existence of what appears to be water (ice obviously). At 97 AU, this new planet is theoretically beyond the edge of the Kuiper belt... however because it is also a solid object, theorists who believe in classic Solar System creation models (heavy, solid "small" metal interior planets, large gaseous "giant" exterior planets) will likely not agree with the designation of this object as a planet (just like they say Pluto isn't technically a planet either). The one thing that people who claim that Pluto and probably this new object are actual planets argue is the existence of methane, which is not found on other Kuiper belt objects.
 

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demon16 said:
I heard it would be called Xena but there hasn't been anything confirmed
Wait................ :lol:

or planet Hercules :p
 

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hmmmm...my vote for Greek God name would be Nyx (nox)
Since Nyx is the Goddess of night and the Planet is SOOOO far away.....


Oh and the Nyx were a pretty cool race on Stargate: SG1 :p
 
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