Another Plutino?

Astronomers Mike Brown (Caltech), Chad Trujillo (Gemini Observatory) and David Rabinowitz (Yale) have discovered a new Kupier belt object. The Kupier belt is a disk-shaped region that contains many small icy bodies and it beyond the orbit of Neptune at roughly 30 to 100 AU (1AU is the distance from the Earth to the Sun = 8 light minutes) from the Sun.

The object is called 2004DW which signifies the year (2004), fortnight (4th=D) and the object (23rd=W). It is somewhere between 840 and 1800 km across and is currently about 45 AU from the Sun. Although it is currently much further away than both Pluto and Neptune (30 AU), its orbit is pretty similar to that of Pluto's which is not very circular which could make it a Plutino (NOTE: The Wikipedia is certainly up-to-date!).

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Saturday 21st Feb 2004 (00:04 UTC) | Permalink
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