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Quaoar discovery image
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Quaoar discovery image

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Posted By: Richard on: 09/4/2006 01:34:56 ET
Subject: RE: Planet Discovery Charts - Xena+Sedna+Quaoar

Message Detail:
Thank you! This is exactly what I have been looking for!
And yes i do believe that the first realization time is the only one that makes sense.
But.. where did you get the discovery time for Sedna on Nov 13, 2003 10:32 pm ?... my sources all mention Nov. 14 and the shots were taken between 6 and 8 am... so i see a contradiction. The others seem to be coherent with my finds.

Valid question, and the date needs clarifcation. I just checked my files. The Nov 13 10:32pm discovery time was the time the photographic plates of Sedna were taken, and the date and time are according to press reports at the time.

Now we just finished discussing that the "real" discovery date and time are when the astronomers first realize what they have photographed. Here's the catch. I haven't been able to track that down that date and time for Sedna.

However, some time ago I did see an interview with Mike Brown (no relation, BTW), who is Sedna's discoverer, and what he said in the interview was that his telescope and camera are busy all night photographing and recording things, and in addition his computer is up all night analyzing what the telescope photographs.

However, what astronomer Brown said was that he's at home asleep at night, and comes into the office in the morning
when he then checks what the computer has flagged as potentially interesting. If it's a planet, voila, it's a discovery.

He was not speaking in the interview specifically to Sedna, but commenting in general as to how he does his work.

So is it possible he came into work on the morning of Nov 14 and realized his telescope had captured something interesting the night before? Methinks that's likely what happened.

This of course, messes things up nicely for a Sedna discovery chart. We have the date and time of the first photograph taken of Sedna. However as yet I have not seen the date and time Mike Brown, et al, first *realized* that they had a picture of a new planet.

So is the Nov 13 date and time the true data for discovery? Likely not, but for now we're stuck with that until someone can get from Mike Brown when it was he was looking at photographs on the morning of Nov 14 and realized he was looking at a planet.

Doggone, but this discovery data business gets tricky. Thanks for your question. It deserved this clarification.

Kind regards,

Richard

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