New Planet Discovered

A new planet was just discovered in our solar system. It is 32 percent as massive as Pluto and is estimated to be about 70 percent of Pluto’s diameter. Furthermore it has a moon.

Apparently scientists have been getting upset that car companies such as Saturn and cartoon dogs like Pluto are taking the really cool planet names they come up with. One astronomer was overheard saying, “I wasted $21 and over two hours sitting through When Mars Attacks with my family. That will never happen again.” This would explain quite nicely why the farthest planet in our solar system will be referred to quite ineloquently as 2003 EL61.

A team led by Mike Brown of Caltech has been observing 2003 EL61 for a year but was seeking more data before announcing the discovery. Brown said today it may possibly be larger than Sedna, which has been the largest known world beyond Neptune other than Pluto.

Sedna is between 800 and 1,100 miles in diameter. Pluto is about 1,400 miles across.
Brown figures 2003 EL61 has a diameter of around 930 miles.

Is there any chance it is bigger than Pluto?

"No," Brown said in a telephone interview. "Definitely not."

In fact, Brown’s team got the new data they had been waiting for, from the Spitzer Space Telescope, last week. While not fully analyzed, he said the Spitzer observations show "absolutely" that the object is not bigger than Pluto.

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