New Dwarf Planet Beyond Pluto Discovered

New Dwarf Planet Beyond Pluto Discovered

An artist's conception of the view from the dwarf planet Sedna. David Gerdes of the University of Michigan says the surface of 2014 UZ224 would look much the same. Source: NASA, ESA and Adolf Schaller

An artist’s conception of the view from the dwarf planet Sedna. David Gerdes of the University of Michigan says the surface of 2014 UZ224 would look much the same. Credit: NASA, ESA and Adolf Schaller

Astronomers find new dwarf planet in our Solar System. A new friend for Pluto. New dwarf planet located in the region of the solar system beyond Neptune known as the Kuiper Belt, discovered.

The new object named 2014 UZ224, discovered by the Dark Energy Survey (DES).

It takes 1,100 years to complete a single orbit of the Sun, could soon join the dwarf planets family, along with Ceres, Eris, Haumea, Makemake and famous Pluto.

Above, scientists based on data obtained by the Dark Energy Survey (DES), have obtained evidence of another dwarf planet beyond Pluto. Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/Nick Risinger

Above, scientists based on data obtained by the Dark Energy Survey (DES), have obtained evidence of another dwarf planet beyond Pluto. Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/Nick Risinger

Is one of the most distant solar system objects we know about, at more than 90 astronomical units (AU), or nearly 14 billion km, from the sun. The earth is 1 AU from the sun, so this.

Light from 2014 UZ224 takes 12.5 hours to reach our planet.

Dr. Gerdes explains in his 2014 UZ224 Fact Sheet, which is available through his University of Michigan homepage:

“To identify transients, we used a technique known as “difference imaging”. When we take a new image, we subtract from it an image of the same area of the sky taken on a different night. Objects that don’t change disappear in this subtraction, and we’re left with only the transients… This process yields millions of transients, but only about 0.1% of them turn out to be distant minor planets. To find them, we must “connect the dots” and determine which transients are actually the same thing in different positions on different nights. There are many dots and MANY more possible ways to connect them.”

The diagram at left shows the orbits of the newly-discovered dwarf planet 2014 UZ224, together with the present positions of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. The dot indicates the present position of the 2014 UZ224 in its orbit.  Image credit: JPL Horizons / Sky and Telescope

The diagram at left shows the orbits of the newly-discovered dwarf planet 2014 UZ224, together with the present positions of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. The dot indicates the present position of the 2014 UZ224 in its orbit. Credit: JPL Horizons / Sky and Telescope

Stephanie Hamilton, a graduate student at the University of Michigan, told Universe Today via email:

“The object’s brightness in visible light alone depends both on its size and how reflective it is, so you can’t uniquely determine one of those properties without assuming a value for the other. Fortunately there’s a solution to that problem – the heat the object emits is also proportional to its size, so obtaining a thermal measurement in addition to the optical measurements means we would then be able to calculate the object’s size and albedo (reflectance) without having to assume one or the other.

We were able to obtain an image of our object at a thermal wavelength using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. I am working on combining all of our data together to determine the size and albedo, and we expect to submit a paper on our results around mid-November or so.”

via wordlesstech.com
source NPR, Minor Planet Center

Astronomers Say a Neptune-Sized Planet Lurks Beyond Pluto

Astronomers Say a Neptune-Sized Planet Lurks Beyond Pluto

Observations of the orbits of six small objects have led researchers to propose a very large 9th planet–100s of astronomical units (AU) away from the sun. Far enough away that this Neptune-sized planet takes ~15,000 years to complete one orbit.

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Is There a Ninth Planet in Our Solar System?

Is There a Ninth Planet in Our Solar System?

Planet9_FEAT

Last week, two scientists announced evidence of a planet roughly the size of Neptune with a mass 10 times that of Earth‘s and a thick atmosphere of hydrogen and helium. The planet is so far away that its year would last 10,000 to 20,000 Earth-years.

The planet has not actually been seen yet, though. Rather, two planetary scientists, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology, theorized that it exists, DNews‘ Trace Dominguez and Amy Shira Teitel explained in the video below.

Interestingly enough, it was Mike Brown’s discovery of the dwarf planet Eris that caused the International Astronomical Union to demote Pluto from a planet to a dwarf planet in 2006. So the researcher responsible for the formal change from nine to eight planets a decade ago is now saying there might actually be a ninth planet.

Batygin and Brown inferred so-called Planet X or Planet Nine’s existence from an unusual cluster of six objects orbiting beyond Neptune in the Kuiper Belt. They argued that the only explanation for this unusual cluster is the gravitational pull of a massive planet.

“This might sound like a lot of sketchy guess work, but it’s actually a viable method of finding planets that has worked before,” Teitel said. It’s the same way that astronomers discovered the existence of Neptune, Teitel explained. Once they had mathematical models showing where to look for Neptune, it wasn’t long before they spotted the planet with a telescope.

However, finding this new planet may not be quite as easy, given how much further away from Earth it is than Neptune. “As researchers continue to refine their simulations, they’ll learn more about Planet 9’s orbit and influence on the distant solar system,” Dominguez said.

“In the meantime,” Teitel said, “astronomers are going to start sky hunting.”

Watch the video from DNews here:

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