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Tenth Planet Detected in Solar System

Astronomers say they've discovered a new planet in orbit around the sun. The planet is larger than Pluto, whose rank as a planet has sometimes been debated. The announcement was made Friday evening at the California Institute of Technology.

The planet, as yet unnamed, has been designated as 2003UB313 by astronomers. It is three times farther away from the sun than Pluto -- and nearly 100 times as far as the Earth -- rendering it dark and very cold. Astronomers working at the the Samuel Oschin Telescope at the Palomar Observatory near San Diego, Calif., first detected the planet on Jan. 8, 2005.

Caltech scientist Mike Brown announced the discovery along with colleagues Chad Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory and David Rabinowitz of Yale University.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Award-winning journalist Richard Harris has reported on a wide range of topics in science, medicine and the environment since he joined NPR in 1986. In early 2014, his focus shifted from an emphasis on climate change and the environment to biomedical research.