Hackers "out" discovery of 10th planet

Michael Brown, the scientist who discovered a 10th planet in our solar system, was apparently forced into laying his planetary cards on the table after a hacker, who had breached his servers, threatened to expose the findings, according to a report in the South African Sunday Telegraph.

Brown, a scientist at the California Institute of Technology, and his colleagues first photographed the object at the Palomar Observatory, near San Diego, two years ago, but they sat on the information until they could further analyze data available this January, according to the report. The scientists still haven't determined its exact size--it will take six more months for that.

Brown scrambled to arrange a press conference this weekend following word that his secure server with the information had been hacked.

What scientists--and now, the world--know about the planet is that it's the farthest-known object in the solar system, or about 97 times farther from the sun than Earth. The planet's temporary name is 2003 UB313. Seems like hacker code.

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    Stefanie Olsen covers technology and science.

     

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