Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

3/27/2014 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Technology

Size of two football fields: Double Century is the world's largest 'giga-yacht' Watch

Image of Sporting an incredible nine decks, the Double Century rises 88 feet above the water and at 656-feet long.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The super yacht intended to eclipse all others, the Double Century, has been revealed for the first time. Sporting an incredible nine decks, the Double Century rises 88 feet above the water and at 656-feet long. The size of two football fields, the Double ... continue reading


Robot arms cook up meals in kitchen at Asian electronics show Watch

Image of Designed by the Shadow Robot Company, which also provides technologies to NASA, the arms consist of 20 motors, 24 joints, and 129 sensors allowing them to mimic the movements and dexterity of human hands.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Visitors to the inaugural Consumer Electronics Show, or CES held in Shanghai got a very special, delicious treat. Food cooked up by robotic arms that served up hot and tasty dishes to attendees. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Designed by London-based Moley ... continue reading


Mysterious heavenly body rightfully earns nickname as 'Nasty 1' Watch

Image of An artist's conception of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dubbed "Nasty 1" a mysterious new star is starting to live up to its weird nickname. Scientists viewing the star from the Hubble Space Telescope say the massive, mysterious star is surrounded by a huge, pancake-shaped disk of gas. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Flickr's auto-tagging feature creates racist and discriminating stirs Watch

Image of Instead of tagging a photo of a woman wearing a white mask as

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pictures are known to capture people's lives, nature and other events in history. This is the reason why Flickr, Yahoo's photo sharing / social networking site has become so popular amongst those who are found of taking snap shots of everything and anything ... continue reading


3 things Christians must refrain from posting about on Facebook Watch

Image of Be careful what you post on your Facebook.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christians are becoming more and more active in the use of technology, as well as within participation on social media. While it is obvious that the trend of social networking has its scary downsides, it is also serving as one of the most popular platform to share ... continue reading


Feeling ill? Wi-Fi may be to blame for mysterious illnesses Watch

Image of Wi-fi sensitivity may be a real illness caused by wireless networks.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Do you use Wi-Fi on a regular basis? If you're using any sort of modern technology, that answer is yes, and while it certainly makes daily life easier, there may be a hidden danger. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Suzanne Hoyt, during an interview ... continue reading


Warning: Porn will currently not be blocked from Oculus' headset Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Rift, Virtual Reality (VR) headset from Facebook-owned Oculus, is an open platform that owners can manipulate and use for whatever software they want, according to Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - As of the moment, there ... continue reading


A new danger in the skies? Hacker takes control of airplane's engine mid-flight Watch

Image of A cyber security expert is being investigated by the F.B.I. because of a hacking incident which occurred in April, where an airplane's engines were hacked in flight.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new document filed in U.S. federal court reveals that an airplane's engines were hacked mid-flight by a well known American hacker, using of all things, its inflight entertainment system. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chris Roberts, a cyber security ... continue reading


Technology takes us one step closer to immortality Watch

Image of In the future, a person may be able to store their brain on a hard drive so they can seemingly live forever.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Through modern technology, it is now possible to upload a brain to a computer. Martine Rothblatt and Ray Kurweil believe that human beings can actually live forever through the utilization of technological advancements. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Are you sure they are safe? Google's self-driving cars to hit the road this summer - to expected indifference Watch

Image of Google's self-driving cars, a squat two-seater is intended to shepherd fleets of vehicles that can drive with no need for human intervention.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Google is set to unveil and sent out on to Northern Californian driveways their self-driving cars. While sounding fun and futuristic, the cars - dubbed by some as "clown cars" or "koala cars," are expected to met with mass indifference. Only 25 of the said ... 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, Sirach 44:1, 9-13
1 Next let us praise illustrious men, our ancestors ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 149:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 9
1 Alleluia! Sing a new song to Yahweh: his praise in ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 11:11-26
11 He entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple; and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 29th, 2015 Image

St. Maximinus of Trier
May 29: Bishop of Trier, Germany, from 332, and a miracle worker. He was ... 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