Article from Yahoo! News - July 29, 2005
Astronomers Claim Discovery of 10th Planet
LOS ANGELES - Astronomers announced Friday that they have discovered a new planet larger than Pluto in orbit around the sun. The finding will likely renew debate over what exactly is a planet and whether Pluto should keep its status.
The unnamed object — the farthest-known object in the solar system — is currently 9 billion miles away from the sun, or about three times Pluto's current distance from the sun. Astronomers do not know its exact size, but its brightness shows that it is at least as large as Pluto and could be up to 1 1/2 times bigger.
"This is the first object to be confirmed to be larger than Pluto in the outer solar system," Michael Brown, a planetary scientist at the California Institute of Technology, said in a telephone briefing.So this is interesting news..... right?The new planet is rocky and icy, similar to Pluto, and is the third brightest object located in the Kuiper belt, a disc of icy debris beyond the orbit of Neptune, Brown said.
It has taken scientists this long to find the planet because its orbit is at an angle compared to the orbits of most planets.
Alan Stern of the Southwestern Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., said he was not surprised by the discovery since other objects around the size of Pluto have been found in the Kuiper Belt. What's unique about the latest finding is that the object appears to be bigger than Pluto, he said.
"Unless they've made a grave mistake, this is for real," said Stern, who had no role in the discovery.