What is Quaoar?
#23092. Asked by Blip%5B. (Oct 08 02 4:10 PM)
Space News Briefs |
By Warren Ferster
Caltech Scientists Discover Object Half As Large As Pluto
Scientists at the California Institute of Technology have discovered a Kuiper belt object half the size of Pluto, a finding expected to raise further questions about Pluto's status as a planet.
The spherical object, dubbed Quaoar by the scientists who first spotted it in a digital sky image taken June 4 with a 1.2 meter telescope at Palomar Observatory, is the largest object to be discovered in the solar system since Pluto's discovery in 1930.
'Quaoar definitely hurts the case for Pluto being a planet,' said Mike Brown, a Caltech associate professor who, along with post doctoral researcher Chad Trujillo, made the discovery. 'If Pluto were discovered today, no one would even consider calling it a planet because it's clearly a Kuiper belt object.'
Quaoar (pronounced KWAH-o-ar) is named after the creation force of the Tongva tribe that originally inhabited the Los Angeles basin where Caltech is located.
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