posted on Jul, 29 2005 @ 08:01 PM
NASA-Funded Scientists Discover Tenth Planet
A planet larger than Pluto has been discovered in the outlying regions of the solar system.
The planet was discovered using the Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory near San Diego, Calif. The discovery was announced today by
planetary scientist Dr. Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., whose research is partly funded by NASA.
"It's definitely bigger than Pluto," said Brown, who is a professor of planetary astronomy.
Scientists can infer the size of a solar system object by its brightness, just as one can infer the size of a faraway light bulb if one knows its
wattage. The reflectance of the planet is not yet known. Scientists can not yet tell how much light from the sun is reflected away, but the amount of
light the planet reflects puts a lower limit on its size.
"Even if it reflected 100 percent of the light reaching it, it would still be as big as Pluto," says Brown. "I'd say it's probably one and a half
times the size of Pluto, but we're not sure yet of the final size.
"We are 100 percent confident that this is the first object bigger than Pluto ever found in the outer solar system," Brown added.