The article “Far-away planetoid joins neighborhood” appeared in the USA Today on March 16, 2004. It is about the newly discovered Sedna, which is a frozen planetoid 8 billion miles from the Sun. It is the farthest planetoid ever discovered in our solar system. It is named after the Inuit goddess of the ocean. Michael Brown was one of the discoverers.
The article states that “Sedna is the first sighting of a member of the distant Oort Cloud of comets, which circles the solar system perhaps 200 billion to 3 trillion miles from the Sun, Brown says.” According to the Astronomy Now website, is may be the first detection of the hypothesized Oort cloud. According to both, the orbit period of Sedna is 10,500 years, but another source states that its orbit “takes more than 12,000 years to complete” (Beatty).
According to the USA Today article “an elongated orbit takes it as far as 84 billion miles from the Sun and drops the temperature to minus 440 degrees Fahrenheit.” It also states that at its closest to the Sun the temperature is minus 420 degrees Fahrenheit. The Astronomy Now website states that the temperature can get to be minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit at the most. Beatty states the same current surface temperature in his article. He also states that the coldest Sedna gets is about minus 420 degrees Fahrenheit. The USA Today article exaggerates how cold Sedna actually is and can get.
The article states that “Sedna might have a small moon circling in a 40-day orbit.” I found out from non-media sources (MacRobert) that it has now been discovered that Sedna does not have a moon. Sedna’s discover, Michael Brown, suggested that Sedna might have a moon. He thought there was a large moon that was slowing Sedna’s rotation by tidal friction. Later images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope revealed that Sedna does not have a moon. “Alan W. Harris noted that no satellite could work a body like Sedna into synchronous rotation if the satellite ended up so far away that it has a 40-day orbital period” (MacRobert).
In the article Sedna is said to be 1,000 miles in diameter. An article of the same date in Sky and Telescope states that the diameter is between 800 and 1100 miles in diameter. An article dated a month later states that it is now believed that Sedna is about 1,000 miles in diameter at the most.
Overall the article properly informed people of Sedna. The differences from the facts and what the article states are so small that it the public does not have an image of Sedna as something it is not. Most of the discrepancies are also present in scholarly sources, such as how long it takes Sedna to complete its orbit and if it has a moon. Beatty and Astronomy Now disagree on how long the orbit is. As for if there is a moon it was only determined through pictures from the Hubble Telescope a month after the article appeared that Sedna does not have a moon (MacRobert).
“Most Distant Object in Solar System Discovered.” Astronomy Now. 15 March 2004.
Beatty, J. Kelly. “Far-Flung Planetoid Shatters Distance Record.” Sky and Telescope
16 March 2004.
MacRobert, Alan M. “No Moon for Sedna.” Sky and Telescope. 16 April 2004.