(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Thursday, March 18, 2004
Sedna ... "so weird"!

As almost every media outlet has reported in the past week or so, Sedna, a body orbiting the sun, with an 1100km diameter, has been discovered and labelled a planet by some, or a planetoid (or any number of other things). Sedna's size has re-ignited the debate about what exactly constitutes a planet (apparently just orbiting the sun ain't enough). The Australian reports:
Ii's red, round and out there. But the identity of the most distant object ever seen orbiting the Sun has astronomers baffled. "There's absolutely nothing else like it known in the solar system," said astronomer Michael Brown, leader of the US team that discovered the mysterious world, which is three times further from the Earth than Pluto. The distant body, reported in The Australian on Monday, is so weird it may even be a new class of astronomical object, says Michael Ashley of the University of NSW. "It could be the first discovery of thousands of these things," Associate Professor Ashley said of the body, provisionally named Sedna for the Inuit ocean goddess. Sedna's discovery was formally announced yesterday at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Caltech's Associate Professor Brown said one thing was certain – Sedna was too small to be a planet. At a mere 1100km across, Sedna is smaller than Pluto. And at 1413km in diameter, Pluto is the tiniest member of our solar system. Pluto's status as a planet has been hotly debated since 1992, when Brian Marsden, head of the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Centre, suggested it was wrongly classified.
The same edition of The Australian also carries this article debating planet-like qualities, but has different measurements for Sedna's size. Hmmm.


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