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'Planet Xena' has a Moon: Gabrielle

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Hum    6,933

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- The astronomers who claim to have discovered the 10th planet in the Earth's solar system have made another intriguing announcement: it has a moon.

While observing the new, so-called planet from Hawaii last month, a team of astronomers led by Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology spotted a faint object trailing next to it. Because it was moving, astronomers ruled it was a moon and not a background star, which is stationary.

The moon discovery is important because it can help scientists determine the new planet's mass. In July, Brown announced the discovery of an icy, rocky object larger than Pluto in the Kuiper Belt, a disc of icy bodies beyond Neptune. Brown labeled the object a planet and nicknamed it Xena after the lead character in the former TV series "Xena: Warrior Princess."

By determining the moon's distance and orbit around Xena, scientists can calculate how heavy Xena is. For example, the faster a moon goes around a planet, the more massive a planet is.

But the newly discovered moon, nicknamed Gabrielle after Xena's faithful traveling sidekick in the TV series, likely will not quell the debate over what exactly is a planet and whether Pluto should keep its status. The problem is there is no official definition for a planet and setting standards like size limits potentially invites other objects to take the "planet" label.

Possessing a moon is not a criteria of planethood since Mercury and Venus are moonless planets. Brown said he expected to find a moon orbiting Xena because many Kuiper Belt objects are paired with moons.

The moon is about 155 miles wide and 60 times fainter than Xena, the farthest-known object in the solar system. It is currently 9 billion miles away from the sun, or about three times Pluto's current distance from the sun.

Scientists believe Xena's moon was formed when Kuiper Belt objects collided with one another. The Earth's moon formed in a similar way when Earth crashed into an object the size of Mars.

The moon was first spotted by a 10-meter telescope at the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii on September 10. Scientists expect to learn more about the moon's composition during further observations with the Hubble Space Telescope in November.

The International Astronomical Union, a group of scientists responsible for naming planets, is deciding on formal names for Xena and Gabrielle.

source:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/10/01/n...n.ap/index.html

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Deadlydread    1

LOS ANGELES (AP) ? The astronomers who claim to have discovered the 10th planet in the solar system have another intriguing announcement: It has a moon.

While observing the new, so-called planet from Hawaii last month, a team of astronomers led by Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology spotted a faint object trailing next to it. Because it was moving, astronomers ruled it was a moon and not a background star, which is stationary.

The moon discovery is important because it can help scientists determine the new planet's mass. In July, Brown announced the discovery of an icy, rocky object larger than Pluto in the Kuiper Belt, a disc of icy bodies beyond Neptune. Brown labeled the object a planet and nicknamed it Xena after the lead character in the former TV series Xena: Warrior Princess. The moon was nicknamed Gabrielle, after Xena's faithful traveling sidekick.

By determining the moon's distance and orbit around Xena, scientists can calculate how heavy Xena is. For example, the faster a moon goes around a planet, the more massive a planet is.

But the discovery of the moon is not likely to quell debate about what exactly makes a planet. The problem is there is no official definition for a planet and setting standards like size limits potentially invites other objects to take the "planet" label.

Possessing a moon is not a criteria of planethood since Mercury and Venus are moonless planets. Brown said he expected to find a moon orbiting Xena because many Kuiper Belt objects are paired with moons.

The newly discovered moon is about 155 miles wide and 60 times fainter than Xena, the farthest-known object in the solar system. It is currently 9 billion miles away from the sun, or about three times Pluto's current distance from the sun.

Scientists believe Xena's moon was formed when Kuiper Belt objects collided with one another. The Earth's moon formed in a similar way when Earth crashed into an object the size of Mars.

The moon was first spotted by a 10-meter telescope at the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii on Sept. 10. Scientists expect to learn more about the moon's composition during further observations with the Hubble Space Telescope in November.

Brown planned to submit a paper describing the moon discovery to the Astrophysical Journal next week. The International Astronomical Union, a group of scientists responsible for naming planets, is deciding on formal names for Xena and Gabrielle.

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space...on_x.htm?csp=24

And no I didn't make this title up..... god help us when they name planets after tv shows..... I wonder if they are lesbian planets too.:ninja:a::ninja:a:

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vincent    154

We haven't even began to study waht most objects of the Kuiper belt consist of. Let alone the Oort cloud. I still think this is just an object from the Kuiper belt or Oort Cloud. Have they even detected an atmosphere on it yet?

And what the hell is up with the name?

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Orange    123

Xena.. bad choice for a name.

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username    0

we really need to set some rules on what is a planet, and what is not, because we are going to be finding a lot of them in the future

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raid517    0

Xena is stupid. I'm certainly not going to refer to it by that name. I mean that is some name taken from a lame 90's American TV show isn't it?

Very, very stupid.

GJ

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username    0

yeah, and the moon is names with for the same reason... but hey, you find it, you name it

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Slimy    13

i find this kinda stuff fishy as this would be all over the news for about a week. but the link does look credible.

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Fred Derf    217
i find this kinda stuff fishy as this would be all over the news for about a week. but the link does look credible.

586611338[/snapback]

What, that they found a kupiter belt object that was larger than Pluto? NASA and everyone else had stories about that.

I personally would rather see Pluto declassified then I would this object (or the 15 others similar-sized objects they are likely to find) as a new planet.

Our Sun has between 8 and 24 planets, depending how you look at it. I think the sentimental number nine, however, is now dated.

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dreamz    4

merged

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Fred Derf    217
we really need to set some rules on what is a planet, and what is not, because we are going to be finding a lot of them in the future

586610945[/snapback]

I didn't see this before the threads were merged but I absolutely agree.

My opinion, which I have liberally shared, is that frozen ice balls should not be considered planets. Sorry, Pluto but the magic number of "9" is dead anyway.

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username    0

yeah, plus given Pluto's very elliptical orbit, similar to that of over comets

but that Venus spin is something else too, something external had to have caused it's rotation out of the dustcloud

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~WinGz~    3

this was on msn news the other day, i was gettin on to check email and there it was if i find link ill post it here.

and i think the planet crap is dumb, pluto, mercury, and this new planet xena shouldnt be accounted as planets cause they are just like a moon i think, mercury mite be an exception becuase it has ellpitical orbit,. but i still think it doesnt belong as a planet, since its not like the others.

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vincent    154
this was on msn news the other day, i was gettin on to check email and there it was if i find link ill post it here.

and i think the planet crap is dumb, pluto, mercury, and this new planet xena shouldnt be accounted as planets cause they are just like a moon i think, mercury mite be an exception becuase it has ellpitical orbit,. but i  still think it doesnt belong as a planet, since its not like the others.

586644662[/snapback]

See that is the thing, can anyone here give there personall definition as to what a planet is or should be?

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Fred Derf    217
See that is the thing, can anyone here give there personall definition as to what a planet is or should be?

586648162[/snapback]

I don't believe that scientists have ever agreed as to what defines a planet and what does not.

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vincent    154
I don't believe that scientists have ever agreed as to what defines a planet and what does not.

586658029[/snapback]

I'm with you on that, the debate has been going on for some years now.

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Fred Derf    217
I'm with you on that, the debate has been going on for some years now.

586658071[/snapback]

I should point out that the asteroid Ceres was considered a planet for the majority of the 19th century.

http://aa.usno.navy.mil/hilton/AsteroidHis...norplanets.html

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~WinGz~    3

i always was taught a planet, was a space object with a atmosphere, even if it was very very thin, like mars. from what ive learned mercury, pluto, dont hvae one, they are just extremely destroyed rocks.

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vincent    154
i always was taught a planet, was a space object with a atmosphere, even if it was very very thin, like mars. from what ive learned mercury, pluto, dont hvae one, they are just extremely destroyed rocks.

586666288[/snapback]

Mercury definitely has scars from bombardment from other objects, Pluto might just be a failed planet. an object of the Oort Cloud or Kuiper Belt. the mission to pluto being launched 2012 by NASA will bring us closer to the truth As to how to classify a boddy as a planet or as solar system debris

To read up on planet formation heres a cool link:

http://stardate.org/resources/ssguide/planet_form.html

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Dave    0

There is a potential planet out there being called Xena w/ a moon named Gabrielle, and the problem is with the definition of the word "Planet"?

I think the real problem here is that the wrong people are naming astral bodies.

...no wonder we can't contact intelligent life, we're the hillbillies of the universe and they are all too busy laughing at us.

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