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When I was a kid

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LOS ANGELES - Astronomers announced Friday that they have discovered a new planet larger than Pluto in orbit around the sun. The finding will likely renew debate over what exactly is a planet and whether Pluto should keep its status.


The unnamed object — the farthest-known object in the solar system — is currently 9 billion miles away from the sun, or about three times Pluto's current distance from the sun. Astronomers do not know its exact size, but its brightness shows that it is at least as large as Pluto and could be up to 1 1/2 times bigger.


"This is the first object to be confirmed to be larger than Pluto in the outer solar system," Michael Brown, a planetary scientist at the California Institute of Technology, said in a telephone briefing.


The briefing was hastily arranged after Brown received word that a secure Web site containing the discovery was hacked and the hacker threatened to release the information.


Brown labeled the object as a 10th planet, but there are scientists who dispute the classification of Pluto as such. There is no official definition for a planet and setting standards like size limits or orbital patterns potentially invites other objects to take the "planet" label.


Brown and colleagues Chad Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory and David Rabinowitz of Yale University first photographed the object in 2003 using a 48-inch telescope at the Palomar Observatory. But it was so far away that its motion was not detected until data was analyzed again this past January. It will take at least six months before astronomers can determine its exact size.


The new planet is rocky and icy, similar to Pluto, and is the third brightest object located in the Kuiper belt, a disc of icy debris beyond the orbit of Neptune, Brown said.


It has taken scientists this long to find the planet because its orbit is at an angle compared to the orbits of most planets.


Alan Stern of the Southwestern Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., said he was not surprised by the discovery since other objects around the size of Pluto have been found in the Kuiper Belt. What's unique about the latest finding is that the object appears to be bigger than Pluto, he said.


"Unless they've made a grave mistake, this is for real," said Stern, who had no role in the discovery.


On Thursday, another group of astronomers claimed that they found a bright object beyond Neptune, but it turned out to be smaller than Pluto. Brown said his group also found another object that was also brighter but smaller than Pluto.


Brown has submitted a name for the new planet to the International Astronomical Union, which has yet to act on the proposal. He did not release the proposed name.

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hey I live in boulder...


and i have met that alan guy..I was on a trip with my astronimy class and went to the planitarium.



my friend used to work at the planitarium and we would get private lazer shows stoned out of our gords...then we hooked a playstation 2 up to the planitarium projector and played games and watched movies on a screen bigger than your house...



SHIT i miss that...


anyway...Im stoked that we have a new planet..if you have ever taken astronamy..its quite the mindfuck..most people in my class were a sleep..but i was wide awake and exited at the explanation of the distance of the width of our galaxey and picture of exploding stars that are 200 billion light years tip to tip.


it just doesent make sence

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Guest Swizel

That is the greatness if I've ever herd it . Playstation on a planitarium screen I would kill the pope for a chance to play halo 2 online in a planitarium. I mean holy fucking wow.

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i think astronomers(sp) made it up cause they dont have shit to do. imagine this, like 6 astronomers sitting around with their telescopes and shit doing nothing, one of them is playing gameboy upsidedown on the couch and everyone else is just sitting there and one of them goes "i got an idea! lets make up another planet but say its really far away and only we can se it!" thats what i think happened

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