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Astronomers Discover Largest Known Minor Planet

By joegee in MLP
Sat Aug 25, 2001 at 01:45:13 AM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

CNN.com is reporting that European astronomers have discovered a new Kuiper Belt Object in an elliptical 6.45 billion kilometer orbit. At 1,200 kilometers in diameter the new minor planet is larger than the previous record holder, the asteroid belt planetoid Ceres. The object is larger than Pluto's moon Charon, and carries the designation 2001 KX76 until a more suitable name can be pulled from mythology.


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My favorite planet is:
o Earth 27%
o Venus 3%
o Mars 9%
o Jupiter 11%
o Saturn 7%
o Neptune 9%
o Uranus 22%
o Mercury, Pluto, Mickey, Vulcan, or Other ... 9%

Votes: 54
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Related Links
o CNN.com
o discovered a new Kuiper Belt Object
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Astronomers Discover Largest Known Minor Planet | 12 comments (6 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
I just found another fun MLP link ... (3.66 / 3) (#2)
by joegee on Fri Aug 24, 2001 at 04:39:48 PM EST

But one item in the queue is enough.

Apparently last week I again missed the possible end of the world. These announcements always seem to happen when I am not paying attention.

Everyone have a decent weekend.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
Credit where it is due (3.85 / 7) (#4)
by Lode Runner on Fri Aug 24, 2001 at 05:02:01 PM EST

Saying that European astronomers discovered 2001 KX76 is like saying that Kepler discovered Mars.

The article you linked to claims that American, not European, astronomers discovered this object. And I quote: "In July, U.S. astronomers first spotted 2001 KX76 and tentatively estimated that it rivaled Ceres in size." The Europeans at ESO then tracked the object and determined its orbit.

So, I guess a more accurate way to describe the situation is: 1.) Americans discovered the object; 2.) Europeans observed the orbit.

The BBC also has an article about 2001 KX76.



Editor ... (3.00 / 2) (#5)
by joegee on Fri Aug 24, 2001 at 05:21:47 PM EST

Removing the word "European" from the submission and the title corrects this problem.

Thanks again.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
I don't think it works that way (none / 0) (#12)
by scheme on Sat Aug 25, 2001 at 04:32:34 PM EST

I don't think first observer gets as much credit as the team that determines the orbit. I believe that the person or group that determines the orbit gets naming rights.

If you think about it, it makes some sense. It's relatively easy to find a new object but the real work is in tracking the object over a period of time and figuring out what its orbit is.


"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." --Albert Einstein


[ Parent ]
Shame (3.50 / 4) (#6)
by RangerBob on Fri Aug 24, 2001 at 06:39:27 PM EST

It's a shame that while we can find these new planets now, we haven't really gone anywhere or done anything in the 30+ years since we landed on the moon. If you follow the curve that we set then, we should have at least been to Mars already. Heck, we haven't even been to the moon since the Apollo program ended.

I had hoped that I would live to see man walk on Mars in my lifetime. The way things are going, I don't quite think we'll make it :( We can find all of these new worlds, but it seems like they'll always be out of our grasp.

We're talking about something similar ... (3.50 / 2) (#7)
by joegee on Fri Aug 24, 2001 at 06:51:29 PM EST

over here. I agree with you.

At least when the Terrestrial Planet Finder/Life Finder missions go up we'll have a little more to see, but I am increasingly skeptical I will see a permanent presence on Mars by the end of my life.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
Astronomers Discover Largest Known Minor Planet | 12 comments (6 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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