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Dátum: 2005-07-30 06:00:23
Feladó: Szöllősi Attila
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Szöllősi Attila

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, July 30, 2005 1:20 AM

> Dolores Beasley
> Headquarters, Washington                   July 29, 2005
> (Phone: 202/358-1753)
> Jane Platt
> Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
> (Phone: 818/354-0880)
> RELEASE: 05-209
>     A planet larger than Pluto has been discovered in the outlying regions
> of the solar system.
> The planet was discovered using the Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar
> Observatory near San Diego, Calif. The discovery was announced today by
> planetary scientist Dr. Mike Brown of the California Institute of
> Technology in Pasadena, Calif., whose research is partly funded by NASA.
> The planet is a typical member of the Kuiper belt, but its sheer size in
> relation to the nine known planets means that it can only be classified as
> a planet, Brown said. Currently about 97 times further from the sun than
> the Earth, the planet is the farthest-known object in the solar system,
> and the third brightest of the Kuiper belt objects.
> "It will be visible with a telescope over the next six months and is
> currently almost directly overhead in the early-morning eastern sky, in
> the constellation Cetus," said Brown, who made the discovery with
> colleagues Chad Trujillo, of the Gemini Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii,
> and David Rabinowitz, of Yale University, New Haven, Conn., on January 8.
> Brown, Trujillo and Rabinowitz first photographed the new planet with the
> 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope on October 31, 2003. However, the object
> was so far away that its motion was not detected until they reanalyzed the
> data in January of this year. In the last seven months, the scientists
> have been studying the planet to better estimate its size and its motions.
> "It´s definitely bigger than Pluto," said Brown, who is a professor of
> planetary astronomy.
> Scientists can infer the size of a solar system object by its brightness,
> just as one can infer the size of a faraway light bulb if one knows its
> wattage. The reflectance of the planet is not yet known. Scientists can
> not yet tell how much light from the sun is reflected away, but the amount
> of light the planet reflects puts a lower limit on its size.
> "Even if it reflected 100 percent of the light reaching it, it would still
> be as big as Pluto," says Brown. "I´d say it´s probably one and a half
> times the size of Pluto, but we´re not sure yet of the final size.
> "We are 100 percent confident that this is the first object bigger than
> Pluto ever found in the outer solar system," Brown added.
> The size of the planet is limited by observations using NASA´s Spitzer
> Space Telescope, which has already proved its mettle in studying the heat
> of dim, faint, faraway objects such as the Kuiper-belt bodies. Because
> Spitzer is unable to detect the new planet, the overall diameter must be
> less than 2,000 miles, said Brown.
> A name for the new planet has been proposed by the discoverers to the
> International Astronomical Union, and they are awaiting the decision of
> this body before announcing the name.
> For more information see:
> http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~mbrown
> For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:
> http://www.nasa.gov/home/index
> -end-
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