Browsing the daily science headlines at work this morning I happened across the discovery announcement of a new Sedna-esque planetoid designated 2003 EL61. The object is thought to be roughly 2/3 the size of Pluto or of similar size to Sedna, if not slightly larger.
However, the key quote from the article, “This is still a big world, once again raising the prospect that something larger than Pluto might still lurk out there,” proved to be very foretelling later this afternoon.
The new planetoid, tentatively dubbed 2003 UB313, was announced sooner than expected after word had started to leak out due to a hacking attack on the discoverer’s web site. 2003 UB313 is estimated to be roughly 1 1/2 times the size of Pluto, but orbits the Sun about 3 times further away or 97 times further than Earth.
A formal name has been submitted to the International Astronomical Union, but has yet to be approved. And in fact, it likely to further the debate between what is and what isn’t a planet.
In other news, they also discovered a ice lake on Mars.