IT'S A GIRL? Astronomers discover a new, PINK planet in our own solar system!
By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
3/27/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
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.
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.
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.
Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for APRIL 2017
Young People. That young people may respond generously to their vocations and seriously consider offering themselves to God in the priesthood or consecrated life.
A diminutive species of hominid, known as a "hobbit" lived in Indonesia some two to 1.5 million years ago. New research suggests they ... continue reading
Scientists are hopeful the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370 will be renewed following tests that show the plane is likely in a new, ... continue reading
In the 1990s, it was a staple of science fiction. A giant asteroid is headed toward Earth to destroy the planet. Few are likely to survive ... continue reading
With global tensions reaching new heights, talk about World War 3 has surged. Search traffic for the term is spiking. Preppers are buying ... continue reading
The majority of the world's computers are vulnerable to NSA hacking, according to a hacktivist collective that has just released another ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Pope Francis talks nuclear war - 'Things are already hot'
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017 HD Video
- 'Correspond with the Pope' - Woman's inspiring journey to honor late ...
- READ NOW - Full transcript of Pope Francis' nuclear war in-flight message
- St. Marculf: Saint of the Day for Monday, May 01, 2017
- Pope Francis arrives in Egypt with powerful message HD Video
- Daily Readings for Monday, May 01, 2017
- Daily Reading for Monday, May 1st, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, April 30th, 2017 HD
- Day 9 - Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD
- Day 8 - Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.