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Shvoong Home>Society & News>News Items>The Statesman Summary

The Statesman

Article Summary   by:Baidyanath    
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Bad news for Pluto as 10th planet is sized up The planet Pluto discovered in 1930 by American Clyde Tombaugh is losing its place as the largest solar system object to be spotted since the discovery of Neptune in 1846, as presented in a study published in Nature. Astronomers led by Mr. Frank Bertoldi of the University of Bonn in Germany measured the reflected solar radiation from UB313, by using a 30-metre telescope in Spain. This method gave them a fairly accurate idea of the size of the planet UB313, whose discoverers claim it to be the 10th planet. An American team announced the discovery of UB313 on 30th July 2005. The planet, located at some 15 billion kilometers from Earth caused a controversy as Pluto’s defenders termed UB313 not as a planet but a vulgar rock. The gentle term used for such a collection of estimated 100,000 pieces of icy, primeval debris that sluggishly move round the Sun, on the periphery of the solar system, far away from the orbit of the Neptune, is a KBO – Kuiper Belt Object. Supporters of UB313 on the other hand retort that if anyone deserves the name of KBO, it is Pluto because it has an uncanny orbital plane inclined at an angle of 17 degrees to the plane in which all the eight other planets are located. The oval shaped path of Neptune is so irregular that for 20 years of its 248 years orbital period, it lies within the track of Neptune itself. The measurements made so far indicate UB313 to have a diameter of 3000 km. Mr. Michael Brown, a California Institute of Technology (Caltech) astronomer estimated that the new planet is one per cent larger than Pluto. He has based his calculation on an image sent last December by NASA’s orbiting Hubble Space Telescope.
Published: February 02, 2006   
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