NASA | For Students | Asteroid Impact | 99942 Apophis | NEAR Earth Objects |CalTech Astronomy

2 0 0 4 W D

Sedna

 

New Discoveries

 

 

Student Links

 

 

 

 

2004WD

What is 2004WD?

This Kuiper Belt object, discovered in 1004, is soon to be named. Hints are that it will have a designation in the theme of Sedna and Quaoar, gods and goddesses of indigenous peoples.

 

Meanwhile, 2004WD is one of the larges bodies found so far in the Kuiper Belt region between Neptune and Pluto. It is also one of the most distant, measuring approximately 2.4 billion kilometers further out than Pluto. Before the discovery of Sedna in 2003, Pluto defined the 'edge' of our solar system.

 

In the Kuiper Belt region there are hundreds of 'planetoids' but most are less that 100 km wide. 2004WD is possibly 1600 Km in diameter, though still not considered a planet.


' In truth, scientists have been discussing [what constitutes a planet] for a few years now, and currently no consensus has been reached. The real problem is that these "planetoids" like 2004 DW and Quaoar really blur the line between planet and asteroid. .' --Michael Brown

 

Professor Michael Brown and his team of astronomers discovered 2004WD with new technology and the combined efforts of CalTech and the Palomar QUEST Variable Survey at Palomar Mountain observatory. Below are renditions of what the discovering plates looked like. See the real clip and read more about the astronomy of 2004ED . . .

 

The Discovery of 2004WD

This conceptual image shows how 2004WD was discovered. By studying the individual plates the little 'dot' at '5 'clock' is clearly seen to be moving over time.

 

 

2003EL61 Orbit