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New Planet Revealed Due to Hacker Threat

It took a hacker's threat to get scientists to reveal the existence of the 10th planet that has recently been discovered in the Kuiper Belt beyond the orbit of Pluto. Why the information was being kept secret is unknown.

Alicia Chang writes in the (UK) Independent that a conference announcing the discovery of the newest planet in our solar system was quickly set up by Michael Brown, of the California Institute of Technology, after a the website that originally announced the discovery had been hacked and the hacker threatened to release the information.

Brown, along with astronomers Chad Trujillo and David Rabinowitz, first photographed the planet in 2003, using a telescope at Palomar Observatory in California. It is so far away from us that its motion couldn't be analyzed until January, when its orbit brought it closer to the Earth. In order to be called a planet, it had to be shown to be orbiting the sun. Astronomers say they won't be able to know how big it is for another six months. The new planet has not been named yet. Brown has submitted a name, but until the name is approved by International Astronomical Union, it will remain secret.

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