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TOPIC: 2003UB313 / The Tenth Planet


L

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RE: 2003UB313 / The Tenth Planet
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Mike Brown the discoverer has updated his webpage:

http://www.gps.caltech.edu/%7Embrown/planetlila/index.html#name


"We have recently discussed the status of the object and of the name with members of the IAU who decide such things. As far as we can determine several activities are taking place:

• A special committee of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is trying to decide precisely what to classify this as.
• Another committee of the IAU which vets names for asteroids and Kuiper belt objects is mulling over the name that we suggested upon discovery.
• Yet another committee of the IAU which approves names for features on major planets and satellites has suggested that if the object is declared a major planet the naming falls strictly to them, and they have suggested that the name should continue the Greco-Roman tradition of the previous planets. We have a couple of interesting choices in mind in that case.

It appears that with the dead month of August rolling around no one will be making decision anytime soon, though the IAU has recently made an official pronouncement."

http://www.iau.org/IAU/FAQ/2003_UB313.html

So until they come up with a definition, the object will not be given an official name by the IAU.

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L

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Hum,
Seems that `Lila', and 'Xena' are not the names suggested to the IAU…

Mike Brown has updated his website about 2003UB313 and added some information about the other two big KBOs.

Weblink:

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L

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RE: Xena / The Tenth Planet
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Informally, the astronomers have been calling it Xena after the television series about a Greek warrior princess, which was popular when the astronomers began their systematic sweep of the sky in 2000.


Art gallery

"Because we always wanted to name something Xena" - Dr. Brown.

Source


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L

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RE: 2003UB313 / The Tenth Planet
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The Gemini Observatory has obtained a spectrum of 2003UB313
.
The observations were obtained on January 25, 2005 by Chad Trujillo, a Gemini staff member who is also on the discovery team for 2003 UB313, the existence of which was formally announced by the Minor Planet Centre in Cambridge, MA on July 29, 2005.


2003 UB313 spectrum (red, obtained at Gemini Observatory) and Pluto (blue). The "dips" characteristic of methane ice are indicated by red arrows and are present in both 2003 UB313 and Pluto.

The research team obtained spectra of the surface of the object also using the NIRI (the near-infrared spectrograph) on the much larger 8 meter Gemini North telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
The NIRI spectra show strong signatures of methane ice, remarkably similar to the spectrum of Pluto, which is also dominated by methane ice in near-infrared observations.

"We still do not know much about this object, however, it is clear that it is very similar to Pluto in both size and composition, at least upon first glance. If 2003 UB313 ever got close to the sun, all the methane ice would have boiled off immediately. To date, no one has seen methane on any other Kuiper Belt Object, only on Pluto and Neptune's moon Triton." - Chad Trujillo.

The presence of methane ice is unusual in that it indicates a primitive surface that has not likely been heated significantly since the solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago.
The team have also obtained spectra of the smaller mini-planet 2003 EL61. The object shows strong water-ice features, similar to what is seen on the surface of Pluto's moon Charon.

Source


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L

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This faint, slowly moving dot discovered by computer shows clear signs of being a deep Solar System object at least as large as Pluto. The object, designated 2003 UB313, is currently situated 97 times the Earth-Sun distance - over twice the average Pluto-Sun distance.


Expand

That far out, the only way a single round object could be as bright as 2003 UB313 would be if it is at least as large as Pluto and completely reflective.
Since 2003 UB313 is surely not completely reflective, it could be substantially larger. One of the discovery frames is shown above digitally expanded and artificially brightened. 2003 UB313 was identified initially on frames taken by the automated 1.2-meter Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory in California, USA.


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Anonymous

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RE: 2003UB313 / The Tenth Planet
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Astronomers announced yesterday that they had found a lump of rock and ice that was larger than Pluto and the farthest known object in the solar system. The discovery will probably rekindle debate over the definition of "planet" and whether Pluto still merits the designation.




The new object - as yet unnamed, but temporarily known as 2003 UB313 - is now 9 billion miles away from the Sun, or 97 times as far away as Earth and about three times Pluto's current distance from the Sun. Its 560-year elliptical orbit brings it as close as 3.3 billion miles. Pluto's orbit ranges from 2.7 billion miles to 4.6 billion.

The astronomers do not have an exact size for the new planet, but its brightness and distance tell them that it is larger than Pluto, the smallest of the nine known planets.

"It is guaranteed bigger than Pluto," said Michael E. Brown, a professor of planetary astronomy at the California Institute of Technology and a member of the team that made the discovery. "Even if it were 100 percent reflective, it would be larger than Pluto. It can't be more than 100 percent reflective."

The discovery was made Jan. 8 at Palomar Observatory in California. Dr. Brown and the other members of the team - Chadwick A. Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii and David L. Rabinowitz of Yale University - then found that they had, unknowingly, taken images of the planet, using the observatory's 48-inch telescope, as far back as 2003.

Last year, the same team announced the discovery of a distant body they named Sedna, which, until the latest discovery, had held the title of farthest known object in the solar system. But Sedna, smaller than Pluto, is on a far stranger, 10,500-year orbit that takes it as far out as 84 billion miles.

Dr. Brown said they had a name they have proposed for the planet, but did not want to disclose it until it had been formally approved by the International Astronomical Union. "We have a name we really like, and we want it to stick," he said.

Informally, the astronomers have been calling it Xena after the television series about a Greek warrior princess, which was popular when the astronomers began their systematic sweep of the sky in 2000. "Because we always wanted to name something Xena," Dr. Brown said.

The astronomers were not able to see 2003 UB313 using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, looking for infrared heat emitted by its minus-405 degree surface. That means the planet is less than 1,800 miles in diameter.

What is most surprising is that the orbit of the planet is sharply skewed to most of the rest of the solar system. The orbits of most planets lie close to the same plane as Earth's, known as the ecliptic plane.
The orbit of 2003 UB313 is tilted by 44 degrees.

"That blows my mind," said Harold Levison of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., who was not involved in the discovery.
"Getting something up that high is very hard."

The object is also the third brightest in the Kuiper Belt, a ring of icy bodies that circle beyond Neptune. The new planet could have been easily discovered much sooner if anyone had looked at that part of the sky.

"It's because no one looks that far off the ecliptic," Dr. Brown said.
"No one expects to have an inclination that high."

Another group of astronomers led by Josι-Luis Ortiz at the Sierra Nevada Observatory in Spain announced Thursday that they had found a large Kuiper Belt object, designated 2003 EL61, that they thought could be Pluto-size or larger. Dr. Brown's group had been observing the same body, but had not announced it, and their observations had already pinpointed a moon circling 2003 EL61, which constrained the size of the body to 30 percent the mass of Pluto and about 70 percent the diameter.

On his Web site, Dr. Brown wrote that the Spanish group deserved credit, saying his group had gambled that no one else would find the planet.
"We were wrong!" he said.

Dr. Brown had still hoped to hold back announcements of 2003 UB313 and another large Kuiper Belt object, 2005 FY9, until October, but his hand was tipped by Brian G. Marsden, director of the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Centre in Cambridge, Mass., who urged him to make the announcement as soon as possible.

Dr. Marsden said that it was possible by looking on the Internet at the logs of one of the telescopes Dr. Brown's team had been using to find out where they had been pointed. He had, he said, reason to think someone had done that, "presumably" in preparation for their own observations.

"I was shocked to find this kind of information was available on the Web," Dr. Marsden said.

He urged Dr. Brown to announce his findings. "I was suspicious and I warned him," he said. "We try to give credit where credit is due."

Astronomers suddenly have three large bodies, and with one of them larger than Pluto, they will probably revive their debate over what makes a planet.

Astronomers do not have a formal definition of what a planet is, and many have said that if Pluto had been discovered today, it would not have been called a planet. The first of the smaller Kuiper Belt objects were discovered in 1992, 62 years after Clyde Tombaugh found Pluto.

The Minor Planet Centre proposed in 1999 that Pluto, while maintaining its position among the major planets, be given a designation among the Kuiper Belt objects. The centre dropped the proposal after outcry from those who saw it as a demotion.

Gareth V. Williams, associate director of the centre, said he still supported a dual status for Pluto, but did not think 2003 UB313 should be added to the registry of major planets. Mr. Williams said astronomers should "leave it as a minor planet permanently."

Mark V. Sykes, a defender of Pluto's planetary status, said his initial inclination would be to classify 2003 UB313 as a planet. He wondered whether it had an atmosphere and what sort of geological processes generated its apparently bright surface. "The kinds of questions we would ask about this object would be planet like questions," said Dr. Sykes, director of the Planetary Sciences Institute, a research institution in Tucson.

Astronomers will also have to figure out how the body made it to its current skewed orbit. "It makes Pluto seem less weird," Dr. Sykes said.

Dr. Brown said he used to support Mr. Williams's view of Pluto as a minor planet, but "I've given up on that." If Pluto, for historical reasons, has been grandfathered in as a planet, "this one, I would say, counts out as the 10th planet," Dr. Brown said.

Five and a half years ago, Dr. Brown bet an astronomer friend, Sabine Airieau, five bottles of good Champagne that he would find a Kuiper Belt object larger than Pluto by the end of last year. In December, having failed, he bought the five bottles of Champagne to send to her. Then 2003 UB313 turned up on Jan. 8.

"I lost the bet by eight days," Dr. Brown said, but "she graciously decided she would let that window slide and I would win the bet."

"That means I get to drink 10 bottles of good Champagne," he said, "and I think I will."

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/30/science/30planet.html?pagewanted=all



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L

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At magnitude 17.5, 2005 EL61 orbits 51 AU from the Sun. It has a diameter about 0.70 Pluto diameters but elongated. Its mass is 0.32 the mass of Pluto. The orbit is steeply inclined at 28° degrees to the solar plane.
The Period is 285 years. It has a moon 1% of primary mass in 49-day orbit.
Discoverer: Ortiz; Moon discovered by Mike Brown who had also discovered the primary but did not announce first.

At magnitude 18.9, 2003 UB313 orbits 97 AU from the Sun. It is twice as big as Pluto. The orbit is inclined at 44 degrees to the solar plane. The period is 557 years. It is a very bright object, Like Pluto; the object's surface is believed to be predominantly methane. At its present distance the surface is chilled to just 30°C above absolute zero.
The object was discovered by Mike Brown.
News of the discovery was announced earlier than expected after hackers broke into Brown's website and stole news of it…
That led him to announce the planet and a third object - temporarily designated 2005 FY9 by the Minor Planet Centre.



2005 FY9 orbits 52 AU from the Sun. 2005 FY9 is estimated to have an absolute magnitude of -0.4; with a Pluto-like albedo of 0.6 this would give it a diameter that is less than the diameter of Pluto (2000km). Its orbit is inclined at 29° degrees to the solar plane, and has a Period of 308 years.
It was discovered by Mike Brown.

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L

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RE: 2003UB313 / The Tenth Planet
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The planet , with the current temporary name 2003UB313, was discovered using the Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory near San Diego, California, by astronomers Mike Brown (Caltech), Chad Trujillo (Gemini Observatory), and David Rabinowitz (Yale University).
The team had been scanning the skies with the 1.2 metre (48-inch) telescope for five years, searching for large bodies orbiting in higher planes than that of the Earth and other planets.
The discovered object is the farthest-known object in the solar system, orbiting the sun once every 560 years. It is so far away that an observer standing on its surface could cover the view of the sun with the head of a pin.

The object was first photographed on Oct. 31, 2003, but it was so far away that its motion was not detected until data was analyzed again in January 8 2005.
A proposed name for the new found planet is Lila – though it will require approval from the IAU.
The word on the street is that Lila is the name of Mike Brown's newborn daughter

Weblink:

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Anonymous

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http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/050729_new_planet.html

Astronomers have discovered an object in our solar system that is larger than Pluto. They are calling it the 10th planet, but already that claim is contested.
Announcement made in haste after discoverer's web site hacked
It is the first time an object so big has been found in our solar system since the discovery of Pluto 75 years ago. The announcement, made today by Mike Brown of Caltech, came just hours after another newfound object, one slightly smaller than Pluto, was revealed in a very confusing day for astronomers and the media.
The new object, temporarily named 2003 UB313, is about three times as far from the Sun as is Pluto.

"It's definitely bigger than Pluto," said Brown, a professor of planetary astronomy. The object is round and could be up to twice as large as Pluto, Brown told reporters in a hastily called NASA-run teleconference Friday evening.
His best estimate is that it is 2,100 miles wide, about 1-1/2 times the diameter of Pluto.

One of many?

The object is inclined by a whopping 45 degrees to the main plane of the solar system, where most of the other planets orbit. That's why it eluded discovery: nobody was looking there until now, Brown said. Some astronomers view it as a Kuiper Belt Object and not a planet. Pluto is called a Kuiper Belt Object by many astronomers. Brown himself has argued in the past for Pluto's demotion from planet status, because of its diminutive size and eccentric and inclined orbit.

-- Edited by Blobrana at 05:33, 2005-07-30

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L

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RE: 10th Planet
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This magnitude 18.9 object is at least the size of Pluto and likely a bit larger. The object, designated 2003 UB313, is currently 97 astronomical units away in the constellation Cetus — more than twice Pluto's average distance from the Sun.




It is a scattered-disk object, meaning that at some point in its history Neptune likely flung it into its highly inclined (44°) orbit.

Position(2000): RA 1h 39.3m, Dec –5° 21'

WebLink:

-- Edited by Blobrana at 04:30, 2005-07-30

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