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Astronomers spy 'planetoid' half Pluto's size

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  • Astronomers spy 'planetoid' half Pluto's size

    LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Astronomers said Thursday they have found a frozen object 4.4 billion miles from Earth that appears to be more than half the size of Pluto and larger than the planet's moon.



    If confirmed, the so-called planetoid would become the largest object found in our solar system since the ninth planet was first spied in 1930.

    Preliminary observations suggest the frozen celestial body is 10 percent larger than Quaoar, an 800-mile-diameter object found in 2002.

    "Right now it looks like it could be bigger than Quaoar, which would put it bigger than anything since Pluto," said Mike Brown, a California Institute of Technology astronomer.

    Brown and colleagues Chad Trujillo, of the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii, and David Rabinowitz, of Yale University, discovered the object late Monday with a telescope at the Palomar Observatory outside San Diego.

    The object, dubbed 2004 DW, lies at the outer fringes of the Kuiper Belt, a swarm of frozen rock and ice beyond the orbit of Neptune.

    Pluto is the largest known Kuiper Belt object, although it's traditionally considered a planet. Its moon, Charon, is about 800 miles across.

    The newfound frozen world is the 15th object larger than 300 miles in diameter found in the region.

    Preliminary measurements suggest the object follows an elliptical orbit that takes it as close as 2.7 billion miles to the sun and as far out as 4.7 billion miles, Brown said. It takes the object an estimated 252 years to orbit the sun.
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  • #2
    i can see my house from here
    Are you on the list?

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    • #3
      I thought they did not consider Pluto to be a planet anymore?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by thetorch@Feb 20 2004, 06:52 PM
        I thought they did not consider Pluto to be a planet anymore?
        not since they found out it was made by Jews
        Are you on the list?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by SLUBLUE+Feb 20 2004, 08:33 PM-->
          QUOTE(SLUBLUE @ Feb 20 2004, 08:33 PM)

        • #6
          Planet X'ers will love this.

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          Said the Quangle Wangle Quee

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          • #7
            Originally posted by lazydaze+Feb 20 2004, 09:01 PM-->
            QUOTE(lazydaze @ Feb 20 2004, 09:01 PM)
            Originally posted by [email protected] 20 2004, 08:33 PM

          • #8
            Originally posted by madyaks@Feb 20 2004, 09:46 PM
            Dear god don't say it's full of oil, we will be headed to Pluto and NOT Mars.

            Halliburton on the side of the Space Shuttle? :angry:
            can we strap Cheney to it? :P

            Official Sponsor of Marco Gonzales and the Productive Out!!!


            Said the Quangle Wangle Quee

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            • #9
              Originally posted by jhanke+Feb 20 2004, 10:19 PM-->
              QUOTE(jhanke @ Feb 20 2004, 10:19 PM)

            • #10
              Originally posted by thetorch@Feb 20 2004, 06:52 PM
              I thought they did not consider Pluto to be a planet anymore?
              taken from encyclopedia.com


              "An increasing number of astronomers believe that Pluto, rather than being a planet, is really an unusually large comet whose true family lies within the Kuiper belt. In 1999, however, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) reaffirmed that Pluto was a planet because of its size and its satellite, something no comet was known to have, but recent discoveries have brought Pluto's status into question once again. One Kuiper belt object, designated 1988 W 31 , has a satellite, and another, 2002 LM60 (Quaoar), is more than half as large as Pluto."


              so who knows esp since its so far.

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              • #11
                What about youranus?
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