How ya like that alliteration? HA!
Astronomers announced Monday the discovery of a large body that is the most distant object in the solar system, an object that could be part of the Oort Cloud. The object, officially known as 2003 VB12 but provisionally known as Sedna, was discovered by Caltech astronomers at Palomar Observatory in November 2003. Followup observations by other telescopes, including NASA’s new Spitzer Space Telescope, confirmed that the object was located in the far out reaches of the solar system. The object is in a highly-elliptical orbit that takes the object as far as 900 AU (130 billion kilometers) from the Sun; the object was found when it was near the perihelion of its 10,500-year orbit, at a distance of 13 billion kilometers. Infrared observations by Spitzer revealed that the object is the largest body in the solar system discovered since Pluto in 1930: its diameter of 1,700 kilometers is smaller than Pluto but larger than any other asteroid of Kuiper Belt object (KBO) found to date. Astronomers believe this object is not a KBO but instead may be a body flung inwards from the Oort Cloud, a hypothesized shell of icy bodies at the far outer edges of the solar system. Sedna may also have a small moon orbiting it, based on observations to date, although more studies will be needed to confirm the moon’s existence.
Astronomers discover ‘new planet’
Astronomers have detected what could be the Solar System’s 10th planet.
It was first seen by astronomers using California’s Mount Palomar Observatory, and has been given the name “Sedna” after the Inuit goddess of the ocean.
Observations show it measures about 1,180-2,360km (730-1,470 miles) across, making it similar in size to Pluto.
Astronomers now say they have evidence that Sedna has its own moon, although this needs to be confirmed, and is also very red in colour.
There is likely to be some debate about whether it qualifies as a true planet, but some scientists are already saying it re-defines our Solar System.
Source: Read More at BBC News
I wonder if there’s life on Sedna….