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News Release 371 of 950

April 11, 2006 01:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2006-16

Hubble Finds 'Tenth Planet' is Slightly Larger than Pluto

April 11, 2006: 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. READ: Junior version of this article Amazing Space Learn about this story in the Star Witness, a science newspaper available on our sister site, Amazing Space.

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. Xena is the large object at the bottom of this artist's concept. A portion of its surface is lit by the Sun, located in the upper left corner of the image. Xena's companion, Gabrielle, is located just above and to the left of Xena.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Brown (California Institute of Technology)