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 Near Earth Asteroid Tracking

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Registration date : 2010-11-14

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PostSubject: Near Earth Asteroid Tracking   Near Earth Asteroid Tracking Icon_minitimeSun Nov 14, 2010 10:18 am

Sedna (provisionally designated 2003 VB12) was discovered by Mike Brown (Caltech), Chad Trujillo (Gemini Observatory) and David Rabinowitz (Yale University) on November 14, 2003. The discovery formed part of a survey begun in 2001 with the Samuel Oschin telescope at Palomar Observatory near San Diego, California using Yale's 160 megapixel Palomar Quest camera. On that day, an object was observed to move by 4.6 arcseconds over 3.1 hours relative to stars, which indicated that its distance was about 100 AU. Follow-up observations in November–December 2003 with the SMARTS telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile as well as with the Tenagra IV telescope at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii revealed that the object was moving along a distant highly eccentric orbit. Later the object was identified on older precovery images made by the Samuel Oschin telescope as well as on images from the Near Earth Asteroid Tracking consortium. These previous positions expanded its known orbital arc and allowed a more precise calculation of its orbit.[11]
"Our newly discovered object is the coldest most distant place known in the Solar System," said Mike Brown on his website, "so we feel it is appropriate to name it in honour of Sedna, the Inuit goddess of the sea, who is thought to live at the bottom of the frigid Arctic Ocean."[12] Brown also suggested to the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) Minor Planet Center that any future objects discovered in Sedna's orbital region should also be named after entities in arctic mythologies.[12] The team made the name "Sedna" public before the object had been officially numbered.[13] Brian Marsden, the head of the Minor Planet Center, complained that such an action was a violation of protocol, and that some members of the IAU might vote against it.[14] However, no objection was raised as to the name itself, and no competing names were suggested. The IAU's Committee on Small Body Nomenclature formally accepted the name in September 2004,[15] and also considered that, in similar cases of extraordinary interest, it might in future allow names to be announced before they were officially numbered.[13]

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