April 13th, 2006

Quill3

Dancing With the Stars


I suppose if they ever start issuing formal Geek Cards in this country and they require some form of documentation on the application form, I need look no further than this: For several years, I have been on the distribution list to receive all press releases concerning the Hubble Space Telescope. For someone like me (assuming there is such a thing a someone “like me”), this is a very cool thing.

In the latest press release, we receive word that an object larger than Pluto has been identified orbiting our sun. Here’s an excerpt:

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has resolved the “tenth planet,” nicknamed “Xena,” for the first time and has found that it is only just a little larger than Pluto. Though previous ground-based observations suggested that Xena was about 30 percent greater in diameter than Pluto, Hubble observations taken on Dec. 9 and 10, 2005, yield a diameter of 1,490 miles (with an uncertainty of 60 miles) for Xena. Pluto's diameter, as measured by Hubble, is 1,422 miles.

And here’s the kicker – just in case there was any doubt as to the inspiration for the new planet’s name, it turns out that Xena has a small satellite orbiting it, which has been dubbed Gabrielle. And if I have to explain that reference to you, well, don’t even bother applying for your Geek Card, for you will surely be turned down!
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