Monday, March 15, 2004
# Posted 2:56 AM by Patrick Belton
Named Sedna after the traditional Inuit goddess of the ocean, it orbits 10bn kilometres from Earth in a region of space known as the Kuiper Belt (or KB, for those in the know or who care to use the lingo). That there seem to be a large family of Kuiper Belt Objects, as they're called - leftover parts, in essence, from the creation of the solar system - has been known for some time: these include a number of minor planets, but before Sedna none yet had been discovered to rival Pluto's 2,000 kilometer diameter. Though it's unclear as yet whether ten planets will result from Sedna's discovery, what seems likely to happen is that there won't any longer be nine - either Sedna gets counted, or Pluto suffers demotion to the ranks of a large number of Kuiper Belt Objects lounging about in the most exotic tourist location in the solar system.
UPDATE: Noting the Latinate names of the current registry of the club of planets (Mercury, Venus, and the rest), reader James asks "Ye Gods! Why Sedna?"
AND ANOTHER UPDATE: BBC has a picture. Also, our New Haven friends might be interested to know that one of the discoverers, David Rabinowitz, does his stargazing from Science Hill. (0) opinions -- Add your opinion
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