Did Spanish Astronomers Use Google To Discover "Santa"?
from the finding-windmills dept
Last month, the discovery of a large Trans-Neptunian object (TNO) was reportedly hastened by a hacker. It turns out now that the “hacker” might actually have been Spanish astronomer Jose-Luis Ortiz, who announced the discovery of 2003 EL61, dubbed “Santa“, in July. Caltech’s Michael Brown had found the object months prior, but was waiting to announce it until after he had published a paper. After reviewing access logs on his website, Michael Brown noticed requests originating from the Spanish astronomers’ computers. Now, there is a public brawl emerging over who rightfully “discovered” the object, as well as some ethical accusations over whether or not the Spaniards accessed (and properly attributed) the Caltech data. If the accusations do prove true, it’s ridiculous that a bona fide astronomer would try and pull such a farce; even Don Quixote would have come up with a more believable tale.
Correction As pointed out by an astute reader, 2003 EL61 was incorrectly referred to as the “10th planet”. 2003 UB313 is the “10th planet” whereas 2003 EL61 is merely a TNO (but still significant). We apologize for the confusion.