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ToSeek
2004-Mar-12, 09:59 PM
NASA schedules news briefing about unusual solar object (http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2004/mar/HQ_n04040_solar_object.html)

Michael Brown, the scientist mentioned in the press release, is the co-discoverer of Quaoar and the recent 2004 DW. It's not clear if this is about the latter or something new, but I suppose we'll find out on Monday.

Tom
2004-Mar-12, 10:15 PM
So it begins.... :lol:

... a little late...

...on Mayan time?

Excuse me, I'll be hiding under my bed.

ETA: 2004 DW (http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~chad/2004dw/)

Manchurian Taikonaut
2004-Mar-12, 10:38 PM
Anybody know any insiders, rumours, maybe a great detection of some more kupier objects?

eburacum45
2004-Mar-13, 12:56 AM
On very little evidence, I suspect that a large object and perhaps a companion have been found, further out than Pluto but otherwise similar.

jfribrg
2004-Mar-13, 01:02 AM
I suppose Nancy has already made good use of this....

tngolfplayer
2004-Mar-13, 04:12 AM
Not her yet but it is getting around. See here (http://www.godlikeproductions.com/bbs/message.php?message=274341&mpage=2&topic=3&showdat e=3/12/04&replies=14).

Kullat Nunu
2004-Mar-13, 04:00 PM
NASA schedules news briefing about unusual solar object (http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2004/mar/HQ_n04040_solar_object.html)

Michael Brown, the scientist mentioned in the press release, is the co-discoverer of Quaoar and the recent 2004 DW. It's not clear if this is about the latter or something new, but I suppose we'll find out on Monday.

It's probably not 2004 DW, because


Dr. Michael Brown, associate professor of planetary astronomy, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. will present his discovery of the most distant object ever detected orbiting the sun.

which it definitely is not. How distant is the most distant (not counting comets)? Some scattered disc objects have semimajor axes well over 100 AUs... If Spitzer found something that far, could it be anything but a planet-sized body?

milli360
2004-Mar-13, 05:16 PM
which it definitely is not. How distant is the most distant (not counting comets)? Some scattered disc objects have semimajor axes well over 100 AUs... If Spitzer found something that far, could it be anything but a planet-sized body?
Then why would it be mysterious? Maybe it's a cloud...

TriangleMan
2004-Mar-13, 05:24 PM
If Spitzer found something that far, could it be anything but a planet-sized body?
I thought most known KBOs were around 100km across, if astronomers can spot KBOs that small, it is quite possible that they could spot a larger one further out.

Killshot
2004-Mar-14, 01:58 AM
it's planet x!!!! the reptilians are coming!!! they are going to enslave us and use our children in salads!!! aaaaaaah!!!

EFossa
2004-Mar-14, 02:09 AM
Do NASA normally have press conferences to announce discoveries of large KBO's ? - This one must be pretty special then, or maybe its because its a discovery made with the new Spitzer Observatory?

The Bad Astronomer
2004-Mar-14, 03:30 AM
Spitzer is sensitive to infrared, and that's the best place to look for these distant objects. The fact that it's the most distant seen is good enough for a press conference.

I don't think it's bigger than Pluto, or, at least, that they think it might be bigger. If so, they wouldn't have announced the press conference that way. They would have been more vague. So I'm pretty sure it's what they say: the most distant object. If it were something they thought might be bigger than Pluto, then I'd expect Hubble to be used to try to resolve it. I didn't see anything in the archive that looked like that might be it.

Ian Goddard
2004-Mar-14, 03:54 AM
What strikes me as possibly curious is the choice of terms such as "mysterious object" and "Unusual Solar Object" in the title. One might infer there-from that this means the object has unique properties, perhaps other than being "the most distant object ever detected orbiting the sun." There are, for example, a number of icy planetesimals in the Kuiper belt beyond Pluto, some of which, due to highly eccentric orbits, have aphelions in excess of 1000 AU.

Toutatis
2004-Mar-14, 04:17 AM
To interested parties here's a link to an interesting post to the MPML:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mpml/message/11848
///////


I'd like to believe Brown's team found something *really* interesting (e.g. 'Nemesis' [q.v.] - *NOT* to be confused in *any way* with PX!!!)

You will please forgive my 'romanticism' where all things celestial are concerned -- I never did quite 'get over' my disappointment at the emergence of the (now accepted and proved) fact that Jupiter is a non-terrestrial body --- To this day, while regarding images of said planet, I all but pine for the rugged landscape which dosen't sprawl, dark and enchanting, beneath that enigmatic 'veil'...

Sincerely
Dan Sarandon

PS - Thanks, To-Seek, for the 're-direct' to this thread! :-)

Ian Goddard
2004-Mar-14, 04:40 AM
Here's a BBC report (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2306945.stm) from 2002 also citing Michael Brown:


Monday, 7 October, 2002, 15:33 GMT 16:33 UK

Large world found beyond Pluto

A new planet-like object has been found circling the Sun more than one and a half billion kilometres beyond Pluto.
Click on the link above for the complete report.

bmpbmp
2004-Mar-14, 01:09 PM
This may be a stupid question but I am really not sure how orbiting works in space.

Is it safe to assume that since this object is orbiting the sun and is so far off that this will not be something that can pose a threat to earth.

snabald
2004-Mar-14, 02:41 PM
Maybe they found sol b.

*crosses fingers*

:)

ToSeek
2004-Mar-14, 02:46 PM
This may be a stupid question but I am really not sure how orbiting works in space.

Is it safe to assume that since this object is orbiting the sun and is so far off that this will not be something that can pose a threat to earth.

It depends. Odds are that the object in question has at least a roughly circular orbit and will therefore stay out there in the fringes of the solar system like Pluto and the Kuiper Belt objects. However, many comets have highly elliptical orbits, so that they go out billions of kilometers away from the Sun but come back again. They are at least a potential threat, but space is still awfully big to be worrying about one random object.

Toutatis
2004-Mar-14, 02:56 PM
In response to BmpBmp:

A 'worst case scenario' (Re: interference with Earth) may be found in be the 'Nemesis' theory (please pardon my abuse of the term!) - which holds that a relatively massive Oort cloud object periodically 'showers' the inner solar-system with 'preturbates' (i.e. comets & their ilk) -- said debris being perturbed in a fashion analogous to the 'wake' of an ocean-going vessel (albeit ‘inversely’ so)... Please note however that statistical analysis does *not* support said theory!!! :-)

In any event the cosmos is a MACROscopic system! --- Please try to place matters in perspective! - As individuals - indeed as a species - our time is just to brief to offer us significant 'exposure'... :-)

Best regards
Dan Sarandon

bmpbmp
2004-Mar-14, 03:09 PM
I really dont understand what the last 2 posts meant.

sorry

Toutatis
2004-Mar-14, 03:11 PM
Hmmm..... I'm thinking, what with adjectives such as 'unusual' and 'mysterious' that perhaps we're talking something of the nature of a not-so-giant GMC??? :-)

OBTW --- There is little cause for concern that the object has a 'dangerous' orbit!!! --- The term 'distant' (in this sense) properly refers to an object's entire orbit - not merely its instantaneous position :)

Sincerely
Dan Sarandon

bmpbmp
2004-Mar-14, 03:15 PM
Ok but correct me if I am wrong but isn't this a strange way for nasa to announce a press conference, i looked at the site and noticed this is different than previous.

Also if this does have a strange orbit and it is so far it is safe to assume that if the orbit does come close to earths that it would take a while before it does am I right or am I still not understanding orbital distances properly.

Kaptain K
2004-Mar-14, 03:34 PM
Look at it this way. The orbit of the Earth is (by definition) 1AU (astronomical unit). The orbit of Pluto (the farthest planet) is 30 AU. This "most distant object in the Solar System" is significantly farther than that. It is almost certainly in a circular (or near circular orbit), in which case it will never get close to Earth. But, assuming (just for the sake of argument) that it is coming in from interstellar space, that it is on such a course that it will intercept the Earth's orbit and that the Earth will be at that point when the object arrives, it still won't arrive until long after all of us have died of old age. Comet Halley, which crosses Earth's path every orbit just barely gets past Pluto and takes 76 years to make one orbit.

Toutatis
2004-Mar-14, 03:36 PM
BmpBmp wrote:


Ok but correct me if I am wrong but isn't this a strange way for nasa to announce a press conference

In consideration of the NASA's present political environs this is *exactly* what I would expect (recall that infrared telescopy will replace the HST - so to speak)--- Moreover Oort Cloud objects are very interesting...

As far as your concern Re: possible calamitous implications - please *RELAX* --- If the news was 'bad' it would either be suppressed *OR* announced via an address by a high ranking statesman/military official --- as opposed to an 'unveiling' of a discovery by its researcher...

Have a great Sunday all!!! --- I've gotta get some Zzzzzz's (yeah! I know!!! Ducks are supposed to be diurnal - but there it is ;-)

Sincerely
Dan Sarandon

milli360
2004-Mar-14, 03:44 PM
But, assuming (just for the sake of argument) that it is coming in from interstellar space, that it is on such a course that it will intercept the Earth's orbit and that the Earth will be at that point when the object arrives, it still won't arrive until long after all of us have died of old age. Comet Halley, which crosses Earth's path every orbit just barely gets past Pluto and takes 76 years to make one orbit.
Halley only takes half of that to "get back" from out there.

Even worse, that's only under the influence of the Sun's gravity. If the object were coming from interstellar space, as you assume, it could have any given speed--it's not necessarily at the sun orbital speed. It could arrive next year.

In consideration of the NASA's present political environs this is *exactly* what I would expect (recall that infrared telescopy will replace the HST - so to speak)--- Moreover Oort Cloud objects are very interesting...
You would expect them to use the word "mysterious"?

bmpbmp
2004-Mar-14, 03:44 PM
Thank you all for the understanding but can something be a little more clarified..


Look at it this way. The orbit of the Earth is (by definition) 1AU (astronomical unit). The orbit of Pluto (the farthest planet) is 30 AU. This "most distant object in the Solar System" is significantly farther than that. It is almost certainly in a circular (or near circular orbit), in which case it will never get close to Earth. But, assuming (just for the sake of argument) that it is coming in from interstellar space, that it is on such a course that it will intercept the Earth's orbit and that the Earth will be at that point when the object arrives, it still won't arrive until long after all of us have died of old age. Comet Halley, which crosses Earth's path every orbit just barely gets past Pluto and takes 76 years to make one orbit.


I have been leraning alot from all of you coming here, though my posts usually seem grim and all but I still always learn something new.but the above for some reason is a little confusing...

Toutatis
2004-Mar-14, 04:07 PM
You would expect them to use the word "mysterious"?

Uh Huh!!! --- A little hype couldn’t hurt... ;-)

But seriously what's with all the catastrophism???

The word 'distant' and the allusion to heliocentricity should lay that to rest (again I point to the convention [Re: astronomy] of ‘Distant’ and ‘Near’ describing orbits of referenced objects)...

Now I've really got to get my rest :)

Danny S. Singing off :-)

Again, a great Sunday and an interesting Monday all :-)

bmpbmp
2004-Mar-14, 04:13 PM
ok tou,

that confused me the most..lol

RGClark
2004-Mar-14, 04:18 PM
It would be hard to believe it is really the most distanct object since the Oort cloud is believed to extend out 1 lightyear from the Sun.
However, perhaps it is because the Oort cloud is theoretical and this announced object was actually observed.

Bob Clark


To interested parties here's a link to an interesting post to the MPML:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mpml/message/11848
///////


I'd like to believe Brown's team found something *really* interesting (e.g. 'Nemesis' [q.v.] - *NOT* to be confused in *any way* with PX!!!)

You will please forgive my 'romanticism' where all things celestial are concerned -- I never did quite 'get over' my disappointment at the emergence of the (now accepted and proved) fact that Jupiter is a non-terrestrial body --- To this day, while regarding images of said planet, I all but pine for the rugged landscape which dosen't sprawl, dark and enchanting, beneath that enigmatic 'veil'...

Sincerely
Dan Sarandon

PS - Thanks, To-Seek, for the 're-direct' to this thread! :-)

RGClark
2004-Mar-14, 04:25 PM
Just saw this on the Habitablezone.com bbs:

SPACE
It's another world ... but is it our 10th planet?
By Louise Milligan and agencies
March 15, 2004
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,8968352%255E29098,00.html


Bob Clark

bmpbmp
2004-Mar-14, 04:38 PM
wow that is really far away,

how could australia know about this before the press conference.

RGClark
2004-Mar-14, 04:44 PM
wow that is really far away,

how could australia know about this before the press conference.

Typically, news summaries are sent out to new organizations before the actual conference so they will have an idea what the conference is about and can get their stories written before deadlines.
They are expected to abide by the embargo. From the date on this article apparently it is Monday Australian time.


Bob Clark

bmpbmp
2004-Mar-14, 04:45 PM
oh so then this is what the conf is about then, no dangers or catastrofys then

snabald
2004-Mar-14, 04:56 PM
Damn... no sol b.

:(

Kullat Nunu
2004-Mar-14, 05:01 PM
This is from Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 3568 (released 12th March):


SIGNIFICANT EVENTS:

Loads for SA075O02_F1 were signed off @ 072/0800z. SA075O02 supercedes SA075O01, and includes the additional "Director's Discretionary Target" for proposal # 10041 "Characterization of a Planetary-sized Body in the Inner Oort Cloud".

Looks like we'll get a Hubble picture of it...

bmpbmp
2004-Mar-14, 06:34 PM
I just spoke to a friend of mine who is more into astrology than me and brought this up, he mentioned that it has been about 1 year now they have been talking about this other planet, does he have this confused with something else

The Bad Astronomer
2004-Mar-14, 06:47 PM
I don't know if this is an embargo break or not. If it is, they are in trouble. :evil: Embargos are usually listed for a given time zone, so the news breaks everywhere simultaneously.

That Hubble Daily sounds like the right object to me. There was nothing in the archives that Hubble had already observed it, so I missed that. I don't get the dailies any more.

The size of an object like this is usually estimated from how bright it is, and how well it reflects light. Most KBOs reflect about 4% of the light that hits them, so if you know its distance (determined by the orbit) and how bright it is, you can calculate the size. Spitzer's spatial resolution is nice, but a 2000 km object at 10 billion km is only 0.04 arcsec if I did my math correctly. Hubble can resolve that, barely (it'll be 4 or so ACS pixels across), but that's way smaller than Spitzer's resolution (http://ssc.spitzer.caltech.edu/documents/compendium/resolution/#sirtf).

So I am sure they are getting Hubble images to nail the size. If it turns out to be the right size, then that it neat. If it's unresolved, then it is an unusually bright object, and that's even neater. Pluto is an unusually reflective object...

mr. show
2004-Mar-14, 07:00 PM
what fascinates me is that the passcode for the listen and log-on session is "objects"

As in plural =D>

hehe, but seriously - if this is a so-called tenth planet, was sitchin right all along?

Wingnut Ninja
2004-Mar-14, 09:30 PM
Just saw this on the Habitablezone.com bbs:

SPACE
It's another world ... but is it our 10th planet?
By Louise Milligan and agencies
March 15, 2004
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,8968352%255E29098,00.html


Bob Clark


SCIENTISTS have found a new world orbiting the solar system – more than 3 billion kilometres further away from the Sun than Pluto and 40 years away from Earth in a space shuttle.

Now really, is travel time by Space Shuttle even a remotely reasonable measurement? I mean, the average Joe isn't going to know what it means (well, uh, how far does the space shuttle go in a year?), and it's a fairly absurd comparison for astronomers since the space shuttle simply doesn't do that sort of stuff.

I also thought the tenth planet was supposed to be called "Persephone" to be a companion for Pluto. :(

EFossa
2004-Mar-14, 10:29 PM
News about it here too:

http://www.hohmanntransfer.com/news.htm

Distant big object
The Australian at around 1430 UTC today posted an article dated tomorrow telling that "NASA is expected to announce today" that "scientists have found a new world orbiting the solar system — more than 3 billion kilometres further away from the Sun than Pluto." The Times of India followed about half an hour later with a shorter article, and an Internet mailing list this morning has a message telling about finding a related and publicly available Hubble Space Telescope (HST) proposal. In fact, that proposal was mentioned in an HST Daily Report posted Friday by SpaceRef.com: Loads for SA075O02_F1 [include] the additional "Director's Discretionary Target" [for] "Characterization of a Planetary-sized Body in the Inner Oort Cloud."

The newspaper articles say this object has been named "Sedna" and is thought to be slightly smaller than Pluto. That would put it between Pluto and three Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt objects roughly half Pluto's diameter. See David Jewitt's 1000 km Scale KBOs.
The official NASA announcement will be made at 1800 UTC (1pm EST) tomorrow.

Note: When A/CC first posted these news links at 1742 UTC, this object was described as being a member of the "inner Oort Cloud," which would be a first-ever discovery. However, it is not yet clear that this is a proper description. The "inner" (non-spherical) Oort Cloud region has been defined as being made up of objects with orbits that average between 2,000 and 15,000 times the distance beween Earth and Sun. See Tumbling Stone for an Oort Cloud diagram.

milli360
2004-Mar-15, 04:48 AM
I don't know if this is an embargo break or not. If it is, they are in trouble. :evil: Embargos are usually listed for a given time zone, so the news breaks everywhere simultaneously.
I brought it up over at alt.fan.cecil-adams, and someone turned up a couple pages: Mike Brown's page (http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~mbrown/sedna/) has a nice discussion of where the name Sedna came from, and it still says that the discovery was announced Mar. 15, 2004. Tomorrow.

Worse, Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedna_(object)) has a link to Brown's page. It too says the discovery was announced Mar. 15, 2004.

Am I still here? I'm not stuck in 2006 again, am I?

milli360
2004-Mar-15, 05:01 AM
Mike Brown's page (http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~mbrown/sedna/) has some interesting details. But I don't see anything too mysterious.

It says that Sedna is about 1800 km, a bit bigger than the 1250 of Quaoar, but smaller than the 2274 km of Pluto (http://www.star.ucl.ac.uk/~idh/nineplanets/pluto.html).

The Wikipedia article points out that "Too far out to be considered a Kuiper belt object, the discoverers have argued that Sedna actually belongs to the Oort cloud, although it is a great deal closer than expected for an Oort cloud object." It's aphelion is at 800 AU, but perihelion is only 75 AU, according to Wikipedia. Weirdly, the discoverer Brown's page has it at 90 AU--but he also says that's three times the distance of Pluto, which is 40 AU.
Interestingly, Brown weighs in on the "Is Pluto a planet debate?" (he says no) by suggesting his own definition of planethood: "We define a planet to be any body in the solar system that is more massive than the total mass of all of the other bodies in a similar orbit."

If we found two objects the size of Earth orbiting each other around a distant Sun, I guess he would say that they weren't planets, right? Clearly, he hasn't thought this thing through. :)

carolyn
2004-Mar-15, 06:59 AM
well it's monday... and i have just logged on really quickly to see what you guys know about the anouncement on the news ref new 10th planet. nothing by the looks of it :roll: so let me be the first to say.. wehey \:D/ new planet.

ps whon't nancy be happy 8) :D

outerspacerock
2004-Mar-15, 07:02 AM
CNN has picked up the story (http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/03/14/planet.discovery/index.html) as well. I think Pluto is going down...Pluto's days as being called a planet are numbered... :-?

Kullat Nunu
2004-Mar-15, 01:21 PM
Chad Trujillo's Sedna (http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~chad/sedna/) homepage is online.

milli360
2004-Mar-15, 03:07 PM
Chad Trujillo's Sedna (http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~chad/sedna/) homepage is online.
That's very similar to the text and graphics that was on Mike Brown's page (which appears to have been taken down sometime last night). But Trujillo's page seems to have less conviction when it comes to the question of planethood.

Anthrage
2004-Mar-15, 03:19 PM
I believe it may be time for us to update our terminology. It is safe to assume that Senda will not be the last such object discovered, and as the number of identified objects increased, the issue will only get thornier. I think that an entirely new classification/term is needed, which will help avoid the messy problem presented by pluto. :)

When deciding what an object is (planet, moon, minor planet/asteroid, comet/asteroid) etc., the usually considered variables are:

-orbital focus
-object size/mass
-object composition

Additional orbital variables:

-distance
-eccentricity


Even without the classification problem, given the nature of the orbits of the 8th and 9th planet, every now and then we are faced with the issue of one slipping inside the orbit of the other...you can be sure that objects further out, regardless of size, will only be more problematic in this regard.

So, I would propose that size/mass not be the primary consideration, nor any related criteria such as the presence of an atmosphere. In fact, I would draw the line now at Pluto - establish a distance requirement for consideration as a planet, effectively ensuring no futher planets will be found or classified. Arbitrary perhaps, but possibly the most sensible choice. Of course, some objects such as 1998 WW31 actually traverse the orbit of pluto...but as is currently the case with the planetary orbits, a similar exclusion can be made based on percentage of time at the respective positions.

What then for the more distant objects? Well, there are those above-mentioned variables...I would suggest that anything from the orbit of pluto up to and including the kuiper belt, if above a set upon size, be given the new designation of something such as a 'kuiper planetoid'. Smaller objects clearly within the belt would be KBO's as they are now, and objects such as Sedna (once it is decided if it is an Oort object or a Kuiper object...) would be an 'oort planetoid'.

I guess what I'm saying is that things are only going to become more difficult, unless we put our foot down now and establish firm guidelines, and ones that will allow for all of the expected discoveries to come - at least as much as is possible. While 10 seems a nice round number for planets, I think pluto is the border at which we can draw any kind of line with some expectation of keeping the floodgates closed. :)

How do you all feel about new terminology, as opposed to reclassification?

milli360
2004-Mar-15, 03:42 PM
How do you all feel about new terminology, as opposed to reclassification?
Some people (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=34053&highlight=ceres#34053) would prefer that the solar system be said to have 22 planets. :)

Anthrage
2004-Mar-15, 03:43 PM
There is another variable of course that I omitted, being whether the body in question has a satellite. This is another criteria that I do not think should be used to identify something as a planet, and given that this new object may well have a satellite, it makes the need for new terminology even more clear.

milli360
2004-Mar-15, 03:46 PM
There is another variable of course that I omitted, being whether the body in question has a satellite. This is another criteria that I do not think should be used to identify something as a planet, and given that this new object may well have a satellite, it makes the need for new terminology even more clear.
A few of the known planets do not have satellites, so already that is not used to identify something as a planet.

However, there are large satellites in the solar system that might be considered planets if they were not revolving around some other planet. That link I just provided would actually consider them to be planets.

bmpbmp
2004-Mar-15, 06:16 PM
anyone see the pics yet or here the conference.

http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2004-05

tngolfplayer
2004-Mar-15, 06:26 PM
Conference (http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/solarsystem/planet_like_body.html)

Pretty cool info.

Andromeda321
2004-Mar-15, 06:59 PM
Hey, does anyone know the magnitude of this thing? I've been poking around a bit but can't find it. :-?

milli360
2004-Mar-15, 07:17 PM
the distance of Pluto, which is 40 AU.
My bad. The semimajor axis of Pluto's orbit is about 40 AU, but it recently dipped inside Neptune's orbit, which is about 30 AU. So, currently, Pluto is out about 30 AU. I'm going to take a nap.

milli360
2004-Mar-15, 07:23 PM
Hey, does anyone know the magnitude of this thing? I've been poking around a bit but can't find it. :-?
I seem to remember a mention earlier--about mag. 20

StarStuff
2004-Mar-15, 07:53 PM
Hey, does anyone know the magnitude of this thing? I've been poking around a bit but can't find it. :-?
I seem to remember a mention earlier--about mag. 20

Yes, Mike Brown's Sedna page at: http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~mbrown/sedna/ (about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way down the page) has it as magnitude 20.5.