10th Planet  

TheNookster 58M/58F
8 posts
7/30/2005 9:48 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

10th Planet

If Pluto retains it's planet status, then a new planet about 1-1/2 times larger than Pluto, even farther from the sun, has been discovered.

The discovery of the 10th planet was hidden from us for close to two years and only revealed because some hackers broke into the astronomers computer system and they threatened to release the information so the astronomer decided to go public.

The planet itself is a Kuiper belt object, like Pluto / Chiron, Sedna, Quaoar, and 2004DW. This new object has an orbit inclined to the plane of the solar system by 45 degrees. It is believed to be about 2100 miles wide, about 1-1/2 times the size of Pluto.

There is an ongoing debate as to whether these large Kuiper belt objects, including Pluto, should even be called planets. There is no established definition of when exactly an object becomes a planet and what those qualifications are.

It is likely that there might be even larger objects out there in the Kuiper belt, potentially even earth sized, so we'll get to argue planetary status for these objects for some time. Me, I hate to be caught up in semantics. I think we ought to clarify the definition of planet and if these things aren't come up with a new name for them.

Still the thing that bugs me is that they kept this a secret for almost two years. The designation, 2003UB313, proves that it was discovered in 2003. So why would anybody want to keep it a secret for two years?

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