"Because in Cyberspace, no one can hear you scream."
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
(Earth Times) The California Institute of Technology team that had discovered the presence of a tenth planet, which was subsequently named Xena, has now found a moon around the planet. [...]
The team, led by Michael Brown, said it observed a faint object around Xena. By observing the moon's distance and orbit around Xena, scientists will now be able to calculate the mass of the new planet.
Although this new planet does not have an official name yet, Xena's little companion is being named Gabrielle after the warrior princesses sidekick from the series. Gabrielle is estimated to be only 155 miles wide and its presence will help scientists and astronomers determine the mass of Xena, which lies almost nine billion miles away from the sun.
(Earth Times) "A combination of the distance of the moon from the planet and the speed it goes around the planet tells you very precisely what the mass of the planet is. If the planet is very massive, the moon will go around very fast; if it is less massive, the moon will travel more slowly. It is the only way we could ever measure the mass of Xena Â because it has a moon," [Brown] added.
Having an official moon will probably help confirm Xena as a planet, as there are some who are arguing for its status to be downgraded (along with Pluto's). Although the International Astronomical Union has yet to decide upon a name for the new planet as well as its moon, Xena and Gabrielle would compliment the two greatly, although it would be a major departure from the traditional naming of greek gods.
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