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30 years of discovery from 1992 QB1 - the beginning of the end of Pluto

30 years of discovery from 1992 QB1 – the beginning of the end of Pluto

Within four hours, the 1992 QB1 moved noticeably against the background of the stars (NTT/ESO)

30 years ago, a telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii detected an asteroid orbiting the sun beyond Neptune. For more than 60 years, only the planet Pluto has been known there.

In 1992, QB1, as it is officially called, was discovered by Vietnamese-American astronomer Jane Lo and her British-American colleague David Jewett.

It is only about 150 kilometers in diameter

It has a diameter of about 150 kilometers and revolves around the sun more than Pluto. At first, some considered it the tenth planet.

In the years since, the number of known objects in the “Kiper belt” at the edge of the solar system has increased by leaps and bounds. Experts now know more than 2,000 organisms in this area.

Some are the size of Pluto. Since not all of them can be considered planets, Pluto has been in the group of newly created dwarf planets since 2006.

The “Happiness” of the ninth planet

Planet Nine was simply “lucky” to have been discovered in 1930 – at that time the classification as a planet was completely correct.

QB1, as experts simply called it for a long time, was eventually named Albion – after a character in the invented mythology of the English writer William Blake. Albion is an old name for Great Britain.

Luu and Jewitt initially called “Smiley” – but the smiling face couldn’t be the godfather because there was already an asteroid with that name, named after astronomer Charles Smiley.

ESO press release on the discovery of the “new Paneten”
Albion, 1992 The first asteroid behind Neptune