On This Day, July 29, 2005 – Astronomers Discover Planet Xena Orbiting the Sun

eris-dwarf-planet-art

2005 – Astronomers announced that they had discovered a new planet (Xena) larger than Pluto in orbit around the sun.

For the first time, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has seen distinctly the “tenth planet,” currently nicknamed “Xena,” and found that it’s only slightly larger than Pluto.

Though previous ground-based observations suggested that Xena’s diameter was about 30 percent greater than Pluto, Hubble observations taken Dec. 9 and 10, 2005, showed Xena‘s diameter as 1,490 miles (with an uncertainty of 60 miles).

Pluto’s diameter, as measured by Hubble, is 1,422 miles.

Because Xena is smaller than previously thought, but comparatively bright, it must be one of the most reflective objects in the solar system. The only object more reflective is Enceladus, a geologically active moon of Saturn whose surface is continuously recoated with highly reflective ice by active geysers.


 

1588 – The English defeated the Spanish Armada in the Battle of Gravelines.

1773 – The first schoolhouse to be located west of the Allegheny Mountains was built in Schoenbrunn, OH.

1786 – “The Pittsburgh Gazette” became the first newspaper west of the Alleghenies to be published. The paper’s name was later changed to “The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.”

1914 – The first transcontinental telephone service was inaugurated when two people held a conversation between New York, NY and San Francisco, CA.

1940 – John Sigmund of St. Louis, MO, completed a 292-mile swim down the Mississippi River. The swim from St. Louis to Caruthersville, MO took him 89 hours and 48 minutes.

1950 – Disney’s adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” was released.

1957 – Jack Paar began hosting the “Tonight” show on NBC-TV. The name of the show was changed to “The Jack Paar Show.” Paar was host for five years.

1957 – The International Atomic Energy Agency was established.

1958 – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was authorized by the U.S. Congress.

1965The Beatles film “Help!” premiered in London.

1968 – Pope Paul VI reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s stance against artificial methods of birth control.

1975 – OAS (Organization of American States) members voted to lift collective sanctions against Cuba. The U.S. government welcomed the action and announced its intention to open serious discussions with Cuba on normalization.

1981 – England’s Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer were married.

1983 – Steve Garvey (Los Angeles Dodgers) set the National League consecutive game record at 1,207.

1985 – General Motors announced that Spring Hill, TN, would be the home of the Saturn automobile assembly plant.

1993 – The Israeli Supreme Court acquitted retired Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk of being Nazi death camp guard “Ivan the Terrible.” His death sentence was thrown out and he was set free.

1997 – Minamata Bay in Japan was declared free of mercury 40 years after contaminated food fish were blamed for deaths and birth defects.

1998 – The United Auto Workers union ended a 54-day strike against General Motors. The strike caused $2.8 billion in lost revenues.

 

Source: On-this-day.com; NASA.gov