This is an artist's impression of the icy Kuiper belt object 2002 LM60, dubbed "Quaoar" by its discoverers.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA and G. Bacon
An Icy New Planet?
News story originally written on October 9, 2002
A new object has been found within the solar system. It is the largest object to be found since Pluto was discovered in 1930! Scientists Michael Brown and Chadwick Trujillo from the California Institute of Technology discovered the distant object with the help of a ground based telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope.
The scientists are calling their discovery Quaoar. At 4 billion miles from Earth, and over 1 billion miles from Pluto, it is the furthest object in the solar system ever to be seen with a telescope. Like Pluto, Quaoar is located in the Kuiper Belt, an icy field of debris extending 7 billion miles beyond Neptune. Quaaor is the second largest object in the Kuiper Belt at about half the size of Pluto. Unlike Pluto, Quaoar’s orbit around the Sun is nearly circular. Scientists Brown and Trujillo suggest that it is probably made up of a mixture of ice and rock.
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