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Space Science

New Frozen World Found Beyond Pluto 763

Posted by timothy
from the delightfully-free-of-tourists dept.
theBrownfury writes "BBC, Sydney Herald, and the Indian Express are reporting a new object, which is one-tenth the diameter of the Earth, and lies well beyond Pluto in an area of the Solar System known as the Kuiper Belt. The new world, which has been dubbed Quaoar, is about 1,280 kilometres (800 miles) across. Quaoar orbits the sun ever 288 years and is 1250 Km wide, about the size of all the asteroids combined. This discovery is being hailed as the most important solar system discovery in the past 72 years."
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New Frozen World Found Beyond Pluto

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  • by Derkec (463377) on Monday October 07, 2002 @01:11PM (#4403884)
    No, this is further evidence that our solar system is made up of 8 planets and there are also a stack of Kuiper belt objects of various sizes. Pluto, just being a rather large and well known one.
  • by yndrd (529288) on Monday October 07, 2002 @01:14PM (#4403929) Homepage
    Most important solar system discovery in the last 72 years? More important than:
    • Liquid oceans on Europa
    • Ice on the moon
    • Possible signs of water erosion on Mars
    This seems only important to people counting rocks and not to people with any hope of visiting them or furthering our understanding of the one we're on.
  • by Frodo2002 (595920) on Monday October 07, 2002 @01:19PM (#4403984) Homepage

    And so, what is the earth and the moon if not two bodies in close orbit around each other? Ya think the earth isn't orbiting around the moon? Think again brother.

    Secondly, what alternative definition would you suggest for a planet other than that it has to be massive enough? (And probably be in orbit around the sun...which is kind of trivially obvious I guess.)

  • by m4ik (576357) on Monday October 07, 2002 @01:30PM (#4404108) Journal
    Why is this a flamebait? I'd really like to know how this is more important than, say, the dicovery of the belts of Jupiter and Uranus.
    Oops now I can't even mod it up again.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 07, 2002 @01:59PM (#4404361)
    Does anyone know where the name "Earth" comes from?

    And don't anyone say "it was named after a worm"
  • by sniggly (216454) on Monday October 07, 2002 @03:36PM (#4405142) Journal
    Agreed, water on the moon, water on mars, possibly tokens of life on mars (on micrometeorites), the beautiful and geologically complex moons of Jupiter & saturn.

    Compared to a block of rock 1/2 the size of pluto?, even colder & further out? It shows large objects exists in the kuijper belt but thats nice to know, not at all in the same league as some other recent discoveries .

  • Huh?? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 07, 2002 @03:55PM (#4405301)
    Are you sniffing Freon? WTF does this have to do with "geeks?" "Sol" and "Luna" have been in use for one hell of a lot longer than "the sun" or "the moon." Where do you think terms like "Solar System" and "Lunar Module" come from? This doesn't mean that it's incorrect to use generic terms like "the sun" or "the moon" .. it's just a local convenience (i.e., a person living in the suburbs of Chicago might talk about taking a trip into "the city", where "the city" implies Chicago because of its close proximity.)
  • by The Fun Guy (21791) on Monday October 07, 2002 @04:20PM (#4405515) Homepage Journal
    Sure. IANAA, but the problem with Pluto isn't that astronomers have some personal grudge against Pluto, but that it's orbital details and composition don't fit the pattern set by the other planets. The orbit *is* way too elliptical, it's too eccentric (e.g. Pluto is closer to the sun than Neptune for a good part of its year) and it's on a weird angle with regard to the orbital plane set by the others. The rest of the solar system fits the pattern of small, rocky planets close in, big gassy planets farther out, with a bunch of tiny ice-balls way, way out.

    When you compare Pluto to the various trans-Neptunian objects in the Kuiper Belt, though, it fits right in. Composition, orbit, distance, everything. Even if you want to get picky about Charon, there have been examples of small rocky bodies in mutual orbit in the asteroid belt, so a small moonlet of a small planetoid isn't that big of a deal.

    I think astronomers are just tired of having to say, "... except for Pluto." when discussing the solar system's arrangment.

    IMHO, Pluto was identified first because it is among the largest, if not *the* largest, of the trans-Neptunian objects, discovered using 19th century optical technology. Now that the lenses, cameras and data analysis tools are so much improved, objects of comparable size are starting to be identifed. This isn't to take away any historical significance from Pluto for being the first of its class to be observed, but I don't really consider it a really small planet, more of a really big planetoid.
  • by seanellis (302682) on Tuesday October 08, 2002 @11:02AM (#4409799) Homepage Journal
    You know what's most depressing about this? If you Google for Varuna and Ixion, the top link is this one:

    http://astrologershq.com/asteroids.html

    The top link on the world's best web search engine is to a bunch of retarded charlatans who think that this is another piece of bait to separate the gullible from their cash.

    Here's a sample of the tripe from this site:

    'Enter the new theory of Hyperdimensional Space, or Hyperspace. In this theory, "attraction" replaces "gravity". In the Hyperspace theory, velocity is a very important factor. So, the high speed which the outer bodies of our Solar System are traveling become very significant even - influencing the placement of the "Barycenter."'

    These things don't travel at high speed. They travel at low speed. If they have a profound effect, why was it professional astronomers who discovered them, and not astrologers?

    It makes me so angry.

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