Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

3/27/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The new planet, dubbed for VP Biden, is pink.

Astronomers have discovered yet another dwarf planet to add to our solar system's count. Orbiting 83 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun, the new planet doesn't even have a name. It is hypothesized that it may just be one of hundreds such dwarf planets.

Many of the distant worlds appear pink, likely because of their icy composition.

Many of the distant worlds appear pink, likely because of their icy composition.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/27/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: 2012 Vp 113, planet, dwarf planet, discovery, kupier belt


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Most of us grew up being taught there were nine planets in our solar system. However, the discovery of four dwarf planets (plus Pluto itself and a new one makes the total, six) prompted astronomers to demote Pluto to the rank on "minor planet" as opposed to a proper planet.

Pluto was recently discovered to be one of many other similar-sized bodies orbiting the Sun at an incredible distance that ranges from 30 Astronomical Units (AU), which is the average distance between the Earth and Sun, and out to 83 AU, and likely much farther.

St. Dominic, patron saint of astronomers.

These tiny planets are too large to be comets, but too small and icy to be planets, therefore they are called "dwarf planets." For comparison, Pluto is smaller than the Moon.

All of these dwarf planets orbit in what's known as the Kupier Belt, a doughnut-shaped ring of small icy bodies. This should not be confused with the Oort cloud, which is even more distant at about 50,000 AU from the Sun and where comets appear to come from.

The latest discovery is of dwarf planet "2012 VP 113" and it is believed to be pink, of all colors. The VP designation has astronomers referring to the new planet as "Biden," after the sitting Vice President.

Despite the presidential-level humor, the discovery underscores a shortcoming with our understanding of our own solar system. It may seem counter-intuitive, but we actually know more about other galaxies and the universe itself than perhaps our own cosmic backyard.

Scientists suspect there could be hundreds of minor planets in orbit around the Sun, but we have only discovered six of them. They also theorize there could even be a much larger planet shepherding hundreds of smaller bodies around the outer solar system. These are educated guesses, the reality is, nobody knows for sure yet.

The reason for this anomaly in knowledge is actually simple. Stars and galaxies produce their own light, allowing us to view them from incredible distances, in some cases across all of space and time itself. However, objects in the most distant reaches of our solar system emit no light, and simply reflect what little light they get from the Sun, which at 83 AU is just a tawny point in an ink-black sky.

For that light to be detected on Earth requires careful observation with powerful telescopes. It can be done, however the observations are painstaking and there's a lot of sky to cover.

Ultimately, astronomers hope the discovery of 2012 VP 113 will be just one of many more such discoveries in the years to come. Astronomers would like to complete the map of the solar system which would allow them to discover precisely how it was formed, and to assess if such formations are typical throughout the galaxy. If so, which they strongly suspect, it has implications for the most existential questions of our existence.

The knowledge that arises from this discovery could even help us anticipate if we are alone in the universe.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.



Comments


More Technology

Smartphones and Internet may be putting your child's mental health in jeopardy Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil

The number of young people being admitted for mental treatments since 2010 has rapidly increased. Julie Lynn Evans, a psychotherapist for over 25 years now, is grateful for the additional funding being sent into mental health services, but she believes the dilemma ... continue reading


Stealth fighter jets in U.S. set to get massive upgrades Watch

Image of Pentagon officials have stressed the importance of developing the new long-range strike bomber calling it critical to national security and nuclear deterrence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A mainstay of United States military defense, stealth bombers have been around since the Seventies. The Air Force's aging fleet is now ready for an expensive makeover. The Pentagon intends to develop a high-priority, super-classified, next-generation bomber. ... continue reading


Will you say 'hello' to Barbie? Mattel's new Barbie doll is 'creeping out' parents, raising concerns of privacy Watch

Image of Hello Barbie will allow its owner to carry on a conversation through recorded audio and WiFi.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Classic toy doll, Barbie, has been reinvented after the makers, Mattel received numerous requests for a Barbie doll that kids can talk to, according to a spokesperson of the toy company. Mattel's response is WiFi connected "Hello Barbie" that comes with an installed ... continue reading


Scientists find way to eliminate inherited diseases with genetically modified human eggs Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New gene-editing techniques are being improved and could soon eliminate inherited diseases from future generations by modifying the DNA of human egg cells. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Although the idea of editing chromosomes in human eggs or sperm is feared, ... continue reading


Hidden spy cameras discovered at United States post office, installation confirmed by USPIS Watch

Image of freerepublic.com

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A hidden camera disappeared just after an hour of being discovered at a Denver local post office, Fox31 Denver reported. People became alarmed that they are being watched as they drop-off their mails with the possibility of the camera collecting their facial features ... continue reading


Your selfie can now be seen by millions: Charity campaign puts selfies on billboards for donations Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

By participating in the Ultimate Selfie Campaign (#ultimateselfiecampaign), people can now have millions of people across the United States see their selfie or favorite photo on digital billboards, while helping charities with a $25 donation. The project was an ... continue reading


BIG, BIG things predicated on Apple's 'Smartwatch' Watch

Image of A solid gold version aimed at the very rich will tarnish a brand that promises

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While Apple remains unusually successful, there are already naysayers lining up to predict that the company's forthcoming "Smartwatch" will be a flop. Many details about the new gadget remain under wraps. Questions remain about the watch's price, the battery ... continue reading


Let there be light: New urine-powered light bulbs bring light to refugee camps Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Pee Power" is what the people are calling this strange innovation. British students and researchers, from the University of the West of England and the OxFam global aid agency, have invented a mode in which light bulbs can be powered by urine. The University has ... continue reading


Zombie Apocalypse: Safest plan is to 'head for the hills,' according to experts Watch

Image of In the event of a zombie apocalypse, cities would fall quickly. However, it would take weeks for zombies to penetrate into less densely populated areas.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the event the dead return to life and begin to cannibalize the living, turning them into hordes of the shuffling undead, theoretically - there would be few options. Researchers at Cornell University offer a practical bit of advice should this happen - head ... continue reading


12 billion times size of our sun; scientists spot massive black hole Watch

Image of Researchers led by teams from China's Peking University and the University of Arizona both say the newly discovered black hole is six times larger than its biggest known contemporaries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Chinese researchers have spotted a super massive black hole. Scientists say the heavenly body is 12 billion times the size of the sun. They theorize it formed around 900 million years after the Big Bang. The black hole, named SDSS J010013.02 is larger than any ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 20:10-13
10 I heard so many disparaging me, 'Terror on every ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 18:2-3, 3-4, 5-6, 7
2 Yahweh is my rock and my fortress, my deliverer is ... Read More

Gospel, John 10:31-42
31 The Jews fetched stones to stone him,32 ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 27th, 2015 Image

St. Rupert
March 27: Bishop and missionary, also listed as Robert of Hrodbert. A ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter