A new planet has been discovered in our solar system, that is circling the sun out farther than Pluto. It’s about 800 miles across?half the size of Pluto, which was discovered 72 years ago?and circles the Sun every 288 years. Astronomers have also discovered a tiny moon circling the planet Uranus.
The new planet was discovered by Michael Brown and Chadwick Trujillo, using a telescope at the Palomar Observatory in California. They used the Hubble Space Telescope to confirm their discovery. They gave it the name Quaoar, after the creation myth of the Tongva people, who lived in the Los Angeles area before the arrival of the Spanish and other European settlers. Quaoar was the god who created all things. But Quaoar isn?t its official name until the International Astronomical Union votes on it. Right now, it?s officially called 2002 LM60.
Quaoar and Pluto are in the Kuiper Belt, which is a swarm of objects made of ice and rock that orbit the Sun. They are thought to be remnants of the swirling debris that formed the Solar System about five billion years ago. Many astronomers have argued that Pluto isn?t actually a planet, and they?ll probably say the same thing about Quaoar.
Astronomers have discovered a small moon circling the distant planet Uranus. It was first seen in August 2001, but they quickly lost sight of it in the glare from Uranus. It was rediscovered in September. “The extraordinary small moons we detected around Saturn convinced us that there should be similarly sized small moons around Uranus,” says Dr. J. Kavelaars of the National Research Council of Canada. “Now we have found them.”
The ancient Mayans were great astronomers and calendar-makers and knew things about the stars that we are just now finding out for ourselves. Read about their discoveries in ?Galactic Alignment? by John Major Jenkins, click here.
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