Eleventh Planet Discovered to be a Hoax

Lirpa Sloof the Eleventh Planet
Lirpa Sloof the Eleventh Planet | Source

This hub, while mostly an April Fools prank, is a tribute to the phenomenal discovery of what at the time was the tenth planet by Michael Brown, a remarkably good sport, by the way, who read the obviously fabricated dialogue between "Wynn Sommers" (Winsome) and himself and pronounced it "good fun." I decided to leave the hub up for a while so the few brave souls who find it can enjoy ferreting out the clues I left within the text. Mike will soon be releasing a book entitled "How I Killed Pluto-And Why it Had it Coming" which is the story of the real discovery of a tenth planet and how it and Pluto were subsequently demoted to dwarf planets.

Lirpa Sloof, formal designation 110214Lirpa, took the scientific community completely by surprise earlier today when a young amateur astronomer, Wynn Sommers from the big island of Hawaii, using a combination of traditional lenses and an extremely powered main frame computer using HDTV technology hooked to an array of microwave discs cobbled from recycled commercial units, discovered a red variety phaseolus vulgaris gas giant trans-Uranusian object (TUO) native to a region of space beyond the Kuiper belt (known as the scattered disc) where the ninth planet Eris was discovered in 2005.

A team of Palomar Observatory astronomers led by CalTech astronomer Ciondolare Marrone verified that it was not a comet as was initially proposed, but is in fact a planet. The orbit is an eliptical one and only gets close enough for accurate calculations once a year precisely at this time. Early speculation of it's comet nature was dispelled by Sommer's innovative hybrid telescope which accurately identified it as a type of massive phaseolus vulgaris giant gas planets believed to be part of the same "big bang" components as Uranus.

Lirpa's distance from the sun is estimated to be from 97.4 AU to 102.5 AU because of its kidney shaped orbit. This particular form of gas giants are known to vary in size depending upon the amount of gas generated by extremely hot reactions in their cores reaching up to 2 million SHU's. In mythology, these planets were deemed too odious to be in the company of other Gods and were allowed audience but once a year. In honor of this tradition and the mischievous nature of the planet's name, Sommers elected to announce the discovery on April 1, 2011.

It's diameter, estimated to be between 2600 to 2700 km, is about 30% the size of Earth and about 3% larger than Eris, the newly discovered ninth planet. Mike Brown, the discoverer of Eris has disputed that claim, arguing that as soon as the excess trans uranusian gasses subside, Lirpa "the Usurper" will be less massive than Eris and Pluto--placing it also in the lowly dwarf planet status and thus leaving the solar system with only eight planets.

Wynn Sommers, upon hearing of Mike Browns comments, quipped: "Well what do you expect from someone who named their dwarf planet after the goddess of envy and strife." Ciondolare Marrone, agreed: "All the other planets are so angry--Mars god of war and now Eris, goddess of war and strife. Wynn and I decided on Lipra the Roman imp of mirth and Sloof, the Welsh spirit of good humor. Who says scientists can't be fun?" Prior to the discovery of Lirpa, Eris was the most massive known dwarf planet in the Solar System and the ninth most massive body known to orbit the Sun directly.

Eris was discovered in an ongoing survey at Palomar Observatory's Samuel Oschin telescope by astronomers Mike Brown (Caltech), Chad Trujillo (Gemini Observatory), and David Rabinowitz (Yale University). The working name for Eris had been Xena and it's moon Dy was called Gabrielle. After somber debate, the group decided to choose the name of a Greek god and Eris was accepted and announced on 13 September 2006. In Greek mythology, Eris, the goddess of warfare and strife caused the Trojan War because she was excluded from one of the God's weddings. In the astronomical world, the question of Eris' status caused such a row among the members of the International Astronomical Union in Prague, that they demoted both Eris and Pluto to dwarf status, thus removing them from the list of planets.

Local IAU members were heard to voice their objections to yet another controversy at the next meeting over the status of Lirpa Sloof. "A Phaseolus Vulgaris gas giant is certain to raise quite a stink in Prague and young Wynn had better hold his breath before joining the ranks of esteemed astronomers dating back to Galileo."

The dwarf planet Eris is almost 10 billion miles from the sun and is more than 3 times farther than the next closest planet, Pluto. The International Astronomical Union defined what constitutes a planet because of the controversy stirred up by the discovery of the "planet" Eris.

The orbit of Wynn Sommer's "planet" is similar to that of Eris but with a characteristic dimple due to the proximity and affinity for Uranus prompting Brown's group to call it the "kidney bean" orbit. Marrone and Sommers issued a statement saying: "No phaseolus vulgaris could ever be confused with a 'kidney' bean."

Every time you find indications of an object in the outer solar system, you get a little charge. You go through all this data and there’s nothing there, nothing there, nothing there, and then suddenly there’s something that no one has ever seen before except for you. It’s always a moment of excitement. Every once in awhile, the moments of excitement almost make you fall out of your chair. ~ Michael Brown

Comments 23 comments

attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Hi Winsome this is pretty complex stuff, but nothing is more fascinating, apart from your hubs of course, than our incredible universe. More powerful methods of searching are bound to happen and i'll be tuned in awaiting the news. Dwarfs are cuter anyway. Cheers Buddy, from beneath the southern stars.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Pretty clever, winsome, a new planet that looks like a kidney bean, and although you didn't cite the date of discovery, with my powers of deduction I surmised it must have been TODAY! Happy AF!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Yes AH, life, the universe and everything is certainly able to surprise us, especially today. You know Eris was originally called Xena and Lucy Lawless even checked in with Mike Brown and thanked him, but the pressure was too much so they caved for a lesser known Greek goddess. Thanks for stopping by. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Doc, I see the little grey cells are doing their job. I am surprised that the nomenclature hasn't stirred more interest, but the day is young. I really appreciate your support and fine wit and happy AF to you! =:)


fetty profile image

fetty 5 years ago from South Jersey

Great piece of "creative" writing - you had me going for a little while there too. Your clues were funny but masked in the writing. Happy AF to you Too!!!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Fetty I'm so glad you got past the stuffy style to get the joke. I rarely do April Fools pranks, but I wanted to make a puzzle so the truly discerning on HP could have some fun. Happy AF and thanks for stopping by! =:)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Lol...okay, I bit at first, then soon realized the day. Up and awesome.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Why am I always late for the party? Well better late than never, huh?

Up and awesome Winsome:)! Happy belated AF!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Genna thank you for coming over and being a part of the fun. That last photo is an actual "phaseolus vulgaris" with the size scale still on it. Looks almost like a planet doesn't it... =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hey RH, it's never too late to join a party--there are plenty of snacks and drinks left and I'm cooking up a pot of phaseolus vulgaris so we can all test out the "big bang" theory. Lirpa Sloof to you too! =:)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

You are too smart Winsome - I have to think so hard it hurts my head;) I like that in a person!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Ha ha, you make my head hurt--I like it. Reminds me of the really hard sudoko ones I try--I let it hurt my head a while and then I cheat a little...we both win. Thanks for coming back, the cornbread should be ready by the time you check this reply. =:)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Yum I love cornbread! I always cheat and sprinkle just a little bit of sugar on top before baking:). I'll be right over!


De Greek profile image

De Greek 5 years ago from UK

I just have to go with drbj on this :-))


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 5 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

Hi Winsome, My brain aches, too complex for me, but I love you anyway...tee hee


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

Hah! I'm glad I got here after you let readers off the hook, because I think your dazzling diction was just good enough to hide the joke from a guy like me who tends to "want to believe." The puns are fantastic, and the whole interaction with the "scientists" is delightful. Fine, fun writing!!!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Good move Dimitri, the good Doc was the first to get it with no hints from me. Somebody better look up phaseolus vulgaris soon and spill the beans. Thank you for stopping by. =:)

RH the cornbread is indeed ready and I didn't sprinkle sugar on it but the butter is melting nicely.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Greetings F'Lady, it only matters that you love me and have weighed in. I am grateful and will make the next hub easy on the brain and heart. We are very fortunate to have such a gracious and talented astronomer here in Pasadena like Mike Brown. I'm sure he would enjoy your fossils. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Ha ha you are right Shades, I think I was so clever I was the only one laughing. I don't even know if Mike Brown noticed when he was reading it that Ciondolare Marrone, is just "Mike (as in microphone) Brown" in Italian. Thank you for stopping by and for the kind words. =:)


Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

This hub was awesome! I loved reading it. Very witty and well-written. =)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thanks Phoebe, I'm glad you enjoyed it, I really had fun making it all sound plausible--too much for light reading but it's great to see who is geek enough to get into it. I enjoyed your Romanian story--sounds like you have a few obfuscations of your own. =:)


Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

Which story? I have written several on Romanians.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Valeriu's Book. It seemed you were telling two stories. I'll explain at the site. =:)

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