Discovering the Heavens, Close to Home

Wow – it looks like Dr. Michael Brown at Caltech has discovered a new planet – and one that’s in our solar system!

Some people argue that Pluto should not be considered a planet – there is no clear definition of what constitutes being a planet as opposed to, say, and asteroid.

But a planet Pluto is, as far as most of us agree.

The new object discovered is out in the Kuiper Belt, much further away than Pluto from our Sun. However, it is certainly larger than Pluto and is currently estimated to be 1.5 times as large.

Ah, Palomar – and this with the Samuel Oschin Telescope on a project funded by NASA. I think Dr. Brown will be making his annoucement today from NASA, actually.

The planet’s name is 2003UB313, but I’d imagine it will be renamed. What an interesting job, and incredibly difficult, coming up with the name for a planet.

And we thought we had our little neighborhood all sorted out. 😉

Well then, this is largest object we’ve discovered in our solar system since 1846, when we discovered the planet Neptune.

Oh, I’m excited about going to see the desert stars. Strange saying that. How about, seeing the stars from the desert. Where goes poetry?