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   Undertoad  Tuesday Oct 8 12:14 PM

10/8/2002: Quaoar



There's a newly-found object out there in our solar system, and its name is Quaoar. It's a chunk of ice and rock about half the size of Pluto, but it's in solar orbit way beyond Pluto.

This image is what it would look like if Quaoar (pronounced kwa-whar) was headed down to Earth to hit Iowa. No, no, it's just a news image meant to compare the size of this object with the size of the Earth.

Caltech astronomers weren't looking for it, but were surprised to find an unexpected point of light while looking at another constellation. They pointed Hubble at it to get a better idea of what they were looking at.

Last Sunday's 60 Minutes highlighted Hubble. I griped about its cost when it was originally going up, but now that the costs have been sunk in, this thing is an incredible gift to mankind. Mankind's understanding of the universe has come an enormous long way in the last decade. Although the mysteries still confound us in very uncomfortable ways, Hubble is a giant leap forward, it's truly amazing.



Jacque Strapp  Tuesday Oct 8 03:05 PM

That name has got to go. My vote would be for Chiron or Persephone. Persephone is what most sci-fi novels have called the then-undiscovered tenth planet, and would keep with the tradition of names based on mythological characters.

Then again, Rupert is a fine name for a planet...



perth  Tuesday Oct 8 03:18 PM

Quote:
This image is what it would look like if Quaoar (pronounced kwa-whar) was headed down to Earth to hit Iowa. No, no, it's just a news image meant to compare the size of this object with the size of the Earth.
damn. i used to live in iowa. i know i wouldnt mind.

~james


MaggieL  Tuesday Oct 8 06:01 PM

Re: 10/8/2002: Quaoar

Quote:
Originally posted by Undertoad
Mankind's understanding of the universe has come an enormous long way in the last decade. Although the mysteries still confound us in very uncomfortable ways, Hubble is a giant leap forward, it's truly amazing.
I remember the profound influence the first "big blue marble" images from Apollo IV had: when we were first able to see the entire planet in a single picture.

While the images really conveyed little in the way of scientifically new information, those of us who were around then looked at the planet in a fundamentally different way from that day forward. To my mind, it was not accidental that the environmental movement really began to gain traction then and in the following few years; one could not look at those images and not come away with the clear understanding that the Earth, as incomprehensibly big as it is, is a *finite* place. Folks who grew up with those pix in their science books may have trouble appreciating how that was a "The Day The Universe Changed", in the James Burke sense.

Now, some three decades later, we turn our lenses *outward*; and are awed by the sight of "galaxies like grains of sand" beyond the sprinkling of "local" stars in the foreground; each one with it's own unique spiral form, assortment of color, and polar inclination in space. While the first Apollo images taught us at a gut level how small the Earth is, the Hubble Wide Field Camera and it's successors show us at that same level how big the Universe is.

You can't buy that kind of understanding. All the hard science from Hubble (and there's been a *boatload* of it) is pure gravy next to paradigm building at that level.


kbarger  Tuesday Oct 8 09:49 PM

Re: 10/8/2002: Quaoar

Quote:
Originally posted by Undertoad
I griped about its cost when it was originally going up, but now that the costs have been sunk in, this thing is an incredible gift to mankind. Mankind's understanding of the universe has come an enormous long way in the last decade. Although the mysteries still confound us in very uncomfortable ways, Hubble is a giant leap forward, it's truly amazing.
It's funny, isn't it? You can never really cost-justify basic research because you never know what you're going to get. But somehow, you usually end up with something worthwhile. (I wonder if we in the US are ever going to regret not funding the Superconducting Supercollider. I guarantee you if Japan or the ESA had orbited Hubble and we had to look at all these pictures coming back, we'd be green as Philadelphia Eagles jerseys. Particle physics isn't nearly as sexy.)


Nic Name  Tuesday Oct 8 10:35 PM

Here's the story from Caltech, which explains the name Quaoar and the fact that it is a re-discovery of something they first photographed in 1982.

Quote:
The discovery of Quaoar is not so much a triumph of advanced optics as of modern digital analysis and a deliberate search methodology. In fact, Quaoar apparently was first photographed in 1982 by then-Caltech astronomer Charlie Kowal in a search for the postulated "Planet X." Kowal unfortunately never found the object on the plate-much less Planet X-but left the image for posterity.



lsd4all  Thursday Oct 10 06:51 PM

World's strongest man discovers new planet

<img src="http://www.7171.org/b3ta/strongman.jpg">
<B>He's got that whole world in his hands</b>



Slight  Thursday Oct 10 07:07 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Nic Name
In fact, Quaoar apparently was first photographed in 1982 by then-Caltech astronomer Charlie Kowal in a search for the postulated "Planet X." Kowal unfortunately never found the object on the plate-much less Planet X-but left the image for posterity.
If you are interested in the ramblings of a verbose huckster on the subject of Planet-X aka Nibiru you may want to read this page and search for the words 'planet' or 'nibiru'.


Nic Name  Friday Oct 11 12:38 AM

FAQ about Quaoar by Chad Trujillo, one of the discoverers.



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