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Welcome, 2003 UB313
Jamais Cascio, 29 Jul 05

2003 UB313Okay, enough.

I admit I was a bit curious as to why Cal Tech's Michael Brown could be so blasé about being scooped on the announcement of 2003 EL61. After all, planet-type bodies aren't found every day... or maybe they are.

This afternoon, Dr. Brown announced that his team, too, had found something new -- and what they found is pretty special. 2003 UB313 -- its real name is still pending approval by the International Astronomical Union -- is now being called the "tenth planet" by NASA. It's no wonder; 2003 UB313 is bigger than Pluto, closer in size to the Earth's moon (which is actually one of the biggest moons in the solar system, and at 2,100 miles in diameter, half again the size of Pluto). It's also at something of an odd angle, about 44 degrees off the ecliptic (the plane at which most planets orbit). It's currently at close to its peak distance from the Sun, 97 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun (a distance known as an AU); when it swings in close -- in another 500 years or so -- it will be only around 38 AUs away, not much further than Pluto.

2003ub313.gif

Here's what the NY Times has to say; here's the BBC; here's Sky & Telescope (including an illustration of comparative sizes); here's NASA's orbit simulator. Dr. Brown's web page doesn't have much aside from the photos, but is probably the page to bookmark for updates.

According to the Times, Brown was holding off announcing 2003 UB313 until more data came in, but two things prompted this afternoon's release: the flurry of activity from the 2003 EL61 find (with the promise of more planet hunters starting to look in odd locations around the solar system); and evidence that the server logs for the telescope Brown used had been examined by other astronomers, potentially revealing where the telescope had been pointing.

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Comments

Isn't it always the way. You wait hundreds of years for a new planet, and then two come along at once.


Posted by: Adam Burke on 31 Jul 05

hi there,

I was watching K-PAX (2001 movie) for the fourth time and there is a dialogue between Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridge where K.S. says that there are 10 planets at your solar system but you just haven't discovered the tenth yet.
interesting!


Posted by: constantine on 1 Aug 05

Yes I also find that interesting and I love that movie but I beleive that I believe that society has the belief that we have discovered everything and that also the nine planets of the solar system has become a fact just because the world believed it but the same thing happened before copernicus discovered the earth was round.


Posted by: Danny on 2 Aug 05

Over 500 years ago we believed that the Earth was flat. Over 100 years ago we believed that the Atom was the smallest particle known to man (as at that time it was). Now scientist are telling us that a potential new planet has been discovered and that the conventional solar systems that we as a society believed included only nine planets are now having to question how much we actually do know about the content of our solar system in regards to planets and even of how we can categorically define a planet. I believe that as a civilization of intellectually gifted beings, humans are going to continually discover new information and adopt new theories that will make us all question what we already assume we know as 'The Truth'. To think any other way would be just considered as naive.


Posted by: Daniel on 3 Aug 05

I would like to knowing more information about the 10th planet 2003-UB313 . May I have mor information or any link address about this planet . Thanks .


Posted by: Jimmy on 3 Aug 05

I would like to knowing more information about the 10th planet 2003-UB313 . May I have mor information or any link address about this planet . Thanks .


Posted by: Jimmy on 3 Aug 05

I would like to knowing more information about the 10th planet 2003-UB313 . May I have mor information or any link address about this planet . Thanks .


Posted by: Jimmy on 3 Aug 05

Congrats to all from the Grand Potentate of the Universe, on another planet discovered. I recommend the name "Rupert". The Emperor of Sedna concurs.


Posted by: Hib on 3 Aug 05

How about the ancient name Nibiru?


Posted by: Benny on 6 Aug 05

Its too small to be nibiru


Posted by: Fabio on 7 Aug 05

I like this web site.
It gave me what I needed!

Josh


Posted by: Joshua on 9 Aug 05

I like this web site.
It gave me what I needed!

Josh


Posted by: Joshua on 9 Aug 05

I'm an astro-lover and love space and I'm very happy with the discovery of the new planet!!!!!!!


Posted by: shraddha on 9 Aug 05

what do these remarks about false history have to do with anything? it is well documented that in the time of colon (sometimes called columbus) he and everyone else knew the earth was spherical. likewise in copernicus's day. it was old news 1800 years ago. the current banter about 313's status is very similar. the dominant scientific thinking is that there are 8 planets, and that pluto's nature was not well understood in 1930.

if pluto and 313 are planets, then sedna, quaoar, and many other KBO's are , too. this is just plain silly. nobody on this forum seems interested in the physical nature of the solar system, or in the "many, many" similar bodies 313's lead discoverer has predicted, just banter about incorrect history of science, like that garbage about the "flat earth" which was NEVER believed in mideaval or rennessaince history. i think i'll go tho the JPL website, this page has no science to read. yawn.


Posted by: paco on 11 Aug 05

Paco, going to the JPL website is a good idea -- and I strongly recommend the website of Dr. Michael Brown, discoverer of UB313. His site is linked in the post above.

I'm sorry that the casual banter in the comments has distracted you from the science in the body of the post. You'll note that the only reference to UB313 being a planet is a link to a NASA page referring to it in that way; if you have a disagreement with this characterization -- and many folks do -- you'll have to take it up with them.

And, fair warning: since NASA helps to run JPL, you might be disappointed by how JPL refers to 313, too.


Posted by: Jamais Cascio on 11 Aug 05



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