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'Tenth Planet' found to be a whopper
news@nature.com ^ | 1 February 2006 | Mark Peplow

Posted on 02/02/2006 9:25:14 PM PST by neverdem

news@nature.com - the best science journalism on the web Close window



Published online: 1 February 2006; | doi:10.1038/news060130-7

'Tenth Planet' found to be a whopper

Large size of 2003 UB313 fuels debate over what is and isn't a planet.

Mark Peplow




2003 UB313 and its moon - currently nicknamed Xena and Gabrielle - take time off from their sword and sorcery shenanigans.© W. M. Keck Observatory

The recently discovered 'tenth planet' of our Solar System is substantially larger than Pluto, astronomers have found.

For many, the discovery that object 2003 UB313 is about 3,000 kilometres across will remove any doubt that it deserves to be called a planet.

"Since UB313 is decidedly larger than Pluto, it is now increasingly hard to justify calling Pluto a planet if UB313 is not also given this status," says Frank Bertoldi, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomy in Bonn, Germany, and part of the team that reveals UB313's size in this week's Nature1.

When astronomer Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena unveiled 2003 UB313 to the world in July 2005, his team was already confident that the new object was at least as large as Pluto, and deserved the status of 'planet'.

But UB313's elongated orbit takes it almost twice as far away from the Sun as Pluto ever gets, making it very difficult to measure its diameter precisely. One clue to its larger size came from the fact that it is slightly brighter than Pluto; a larger mirror would reflect more of the Sun's light. But an alternative explanation could have been that UB313 is simply made of a more reflective material than Pluto.

Ice maiden




How does the 'tenth planet' measure up against other bits of the Solar System? Click here to find out.

Using the Institute for Millimetre Radio Astronomy (IRAM) 30-metre telescope in Spain, Bertoldi's team has now studied the radiowaves coming from UB313, which reveal how much of the Sun's rays are absorbed and re-radiated as heat. Because very little reflected sunlight is emitted at these wavelengths, the object's brightness in radiowaves depends only on its size and surface temperature.

Based on its enormous distance from the Sun, UB313 is calculated to be tremendously cold: a staggering -248 °C. Bertoldi and his colleagues combined this value with their measurements of UB313's radiation to determine its reflectivity and size.

Although this first estimate of 3,000 kilometres may be out by as much as 400 kilometres, this still puts UB313 well ahead of 2,300-kilometre-wide Pluto in the size stakes, making it the largest body found in the Solar System since the discovery of Neptune in 1846.

The research also shows that UB313 has a reflectivity, or albedo, of about 60%. This is roughly the same as Pluto's, suggesting that the two objects' surfaces are made of very similar materials, such as frozen methane and nitrogen snow. Only a very frosty world could produce an albedo of 60%, says Brown.

 Imagine how you'd feel if your baby didn't have a name for seven months. 

Mike Brown,
Caltech
Brown has also been trying to measure the size of UB313 by using the Hubble Space Telescope. Although he released preliminary findings on 25 January at a public meeting at Foothill College in Los Altos Hill, California, suggesting that UB313 was just a few percent larger than Pluto, he now says that measurement is wrong. "It was an extremely preliminary estimate," he explains.

A planet with no name

2003 UB313 is not the catchiest name, but unfortunately this temporary designation will have to stick until the International Astronomical Union (IAU) decides whether it is indeed a planet that warrants a name from classical mythology.

Since 1992, more than 1,000 similar, albeit smaller, objects have been found in the region around Pluto known as the Kuiper Belt, and astronomers estimate that there may be more than half a million still waiting to be discovered. As more of these icy remnants from the Solar System's birth turn up, Pluto blends into the crowd and its claim to be a unique planet grows slimmer and slimmer.

Some astronomers argue that Pluto should be stripped of its title, to become a Kuiper Belt Object like its orbital fellows. Others suggest that anything larger than Pluto found in the outskirts of the Solar System should also be called a 'planet', which would include UB313. "I'd prefer to keep Pluto as a planet, for historical reasons," says Bertoldi.

The IAU set up a committee of 19 top astronomers to come up with a workable definition for a planet that would rule UB313 in or out, but in November 2005 the group finally admitted defeat after failing to reach a clear consensus. The IAU has promised action later this year, but Brown is already impatient. "Imagine how you'd feel if your baby didn't have a name for seven months," he says.

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References

  1. Bertoldi F.,

    Altenhoff W.,

    Weiss A.,

    Menten K. M.&

    Thum C. . Nature, 439 . 563 - 564 (2006). | Article |

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Story from news@nature.com:
http://news.nature.com//news/2006/060130/060130-7.html

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TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Germany; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: 10thplanet; 2003ub313; gabrielle; nibiru; planet; planetx; pluto; tenthplanet; xena; xenalyte; xplanets
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1 posted on 02/02/2006 9:25:16 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Don't tell Michael Moore.


2 posted on 02/02/2006 9:26:27 PM PST by Darkwolf377 (http://www.welovetheiraqiinformationminister.com/#quotes)
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To: Xenalyte

I read the names of these things, and thought of you.


3 posted on 02/02/2006 9:26:41 PM PST by coloradan (Failing to protect the liberties of your enemies establishes precedents that will reach to yourself.)
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To: King Prout; KevinDavis

ping


4 posted on 02/02/2006 9:29:38 PM PST by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

Let's call it Reagen.


5 posted on 02/02/2006 9:29:41 PM PST by ClaudiusI
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To: Xenalyte
...currently nicknamed Xena and Gabrielle...

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO NOW?!!???

6 posted on 02/02/2006 9:30:00 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: neverdem

On that same site is an interesting piece about AIDS in Zimbabwe falling due to prevention programs including...well whaddaya know!...abstinence.


7 posted on 02/02/2006 9:30:27 PM PST by Darkwolf377 (http://www.welovetheiraqiinformationminister.com/#quotes)
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To: neverdem

Not my fault.

Joking aside, cool.
Makes me wonder what else is lurking out there, and how large.


8 posted on 02/02/2006 9:35:40 PM PST by Darksheare (Aim low! They got knees!)
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To: Darksheare

So long as they do not discover my Dyson Sphere casino...


9 posted on 02/02/2006 9:36:52 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: Army Air Corps

SSSH!
They'll raid ya in a heartbeat if they find it.
*chuckle*

There was an article earlier about giant extrasolar planets orbiting extremely close to the parent stars, and a theory about how they got there.

Seems our solar system is a bit of an oddball.


10 posted on 02/02/2006 9:38:30 PM PST by Darksheare (Aim low! They got knees!)
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To: stevie_d_64; humblegunner; Flyer; Michael Goldsberry; BurFred; Xenalyte; Dashing Dasher; Eaker

Planet Helluva X Finbar ping.


11 posted on 02/02/2006 9:40:15 PM PST by Allegra (You Won't Find the Meaning of Life in This Tagline....At Least Not Today.)
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To: neverdem


Malted milky goodness on a planetary scale.
12 posted on 02/02/2006 9:40:39 PM PST by kenth
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To: El Gato; JudyB1938; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; ..
A genetic clue to high SIDS rate in black infants

Can brain say if you're lying? For whatever reason, I didn't link that story after I posted it. There are new links on that thread.

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

13 posted on 02/02/2006 9:41:32 PM PST by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

At least its a Republican planet (looking at the photo there!)

UB313 - How bout UB40? Red, red wine...


14 posted on 02/02/2006 9:41:41 PM PST by rjp2005
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To: Allegra; humblegunner; Eaker; Squantos
Planet Helluva X Finbar ping.

Didn't Humble date her in High School?

;-D

15 posted on 02/02/2006 9:44:14 PM PST by Dashing Dasher (Damn you, Punxsutawney Phil !)
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To: neverdem; SunkenCiv

What's seemingly odd is that our solar system seems to be different from others.
Seems the norm known so far is huge Jupiter plus class planets in tight close orbits.

Here our solar system is, multiple tiny planets, some gas giants, and not one but two or three debris belts plus stragglers.
SC's earlier thread on tangentially related subject:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1570230/posts


16 posted on 02/02/2006 9:45:00 PM PST by Darksheare (Aim low! They got knees!)
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To: Darksheare

Thanks for the link.


17 posted on 02/02/2006 9:46:54 PM PST by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

What shall we call it? Minerva, Vesta, Diana, Bacchus, Juno, or Vulcan?


18 posted on 02/02/2006 9:47:40 PM PST by demlosers (Kerry: "Impeach Bush, filibuster Alito, withdraw from Iraq, send U235 to Iran, elect me President!")
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To: neverdem

Welcome.
It isn't really related, but it is a good contrast to what we have as our solar system.


19 posted on 02/02/2006 9:48:31 PM PST by Darksheare (Aim low! They got knees!)
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To: Darksheare
What's seemingly odd is that our solar system seems to be different from others. Seems the norm known so far is huge Jupiter plus class planets in tight close orbits.

Might that just reflect the kinds of planets we can most easily detect from vast distances?

20 posted on 02/02/2006 9:53:53 PM PST by Ichneumon
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To: Darksheare; neverdem

I think we're getting reports of larger-than-Jupiter worlds and closer-than-Mercury giants because of the limits of the observing technology, which has been improving all the time since the late 1990s, when the first confirmed extrasolar planet was discovered.

The issues raised by these seemingly anomalous systems are real ones, however. :')



http://seds.lpl.arizona.edu/nineplanets/nineplanets/other.html

"Observations of the very nearby Barnard's Star were once thought to be evidence of gravitational effects of planets but they now seem to have been in error."


21 posted on 02/02/2006 9:58:02 PM PST by SunkenCiv (In the long run, there is only the short run.)
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To: neverdem

They found another 10th planet yesterday?


22 posted on 02/02/2006 9:58:16 PM PST by presidio9 ("Bird Flu" is the new Y2K virus -only without the handy deadline.)
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To: Ichneumon

Yes.
And as detection becomes easier and better refined, we may find that our style solar system is more common.
But with Jupiter, Staurn, Uranus, and Nptune in our solar system, how come ours didn't end up mosty toasty like others?
That's probably a question broiling in the backs of some minds at the moment.
(Perhaps our sun was a bit of a stellar oddball and put enough outward pressure to keep things from infalling early on?)


23 posted on 02/02/2006 9:58:17 PM PST by Darksheare (Aim low! They got knees!)
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To: SunkenCiv

Thanks.


24 posted on 02/02/2006 9:59:00 PM PST by Darksheare (Aim low! They got knees!)
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To: Darksheare
"Seems our solar system is a bit of an oddball."

The more we explore our own backyard, the more weird stuff we discover. Our system is a cornucopia of oddities and unanswered questions.
25 posted on 02/02/2006 10:03:47 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: Army Air Corps

Yeah, What would make it'frosting on the cake' would be to find we are living in a binary star system with a brown dwarf secondary star orbiting our primary star..
That would be something to hear about.


26 posted on 02/02/2006 10:08:15 PM PST by Darksheare (Aim low! They got knees!)
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To: demlosers
"What shall we call it? Minerva, Vesta, Diana, Bacchus, Juno, or Vulcan?"



"I do have a preference."
27 posted on 02/02/2006 10:09:36 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: neverdem

Here's a picture from the Hubble space telescope.

28 posted on 02/02/2006 10:10:14 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
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To: Darksheare

"What would make it'frosting on the cake' would be to find we are living in a binary star system with a brown dwarf secondary star orbiting our primary star."

I'll settle for a stable wormhole. :-)


29 posted on 02/02/2006 10:10:50 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: Darksheare

My pleasure. Thanks for the link to the Moving Orbits topic. :')


30 posted on 02/02/2006 10:10:54 PM PST by SunkenCiv (In the long run, there is only the short run.)
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To: neverdem
I say we call it Ceres.

Of course, Ceres was the goddess of motherly love and agriculture (or something), which kinda clashes with a cold, barren, icy rock floating around millions of miles away from the sun...

But in mythology, Ceres is related to Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Pluto, so she'd fit in nicely with our current solar system.
31 posted on 02/02/2006 10:13:11 PM PST by Termite_Commander (Warning: Cynical Right-winger Ahead)
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To: Paleo Conservative

It must be getting late, as I stared at that for about seven seconds, and then began laughing.

My brain is slowing down.


32 posted on 02/02/2006 10:14:30 PM PST by Termite_Commander (Warning: Cynical Right-winger Ahead)
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To: Darksheare; neverdem; NormsRevenge; RadioAstronomer

It's just a special place;


33 posted on 02/02/2006 10:14:48 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (History is soon Forgotten,)
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To: Paleo Conservative

Here's a picture from the Hubble space telescope.

One of the planet's inhabitants.

34 posted on 02/02/2006 10:17:56 PM PST by JRios1968 ("Cogito, ergo FReep": I think, therefore I FReep.)
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To: neverdem

2003 UB313 is currently the fifteenth-largest known Solar System object, with a diameter larger than those of Pluto and the neptunian moon Triton, but smaller than those of Earth's Moon and Titan, the largest of Saturn's satellites. Other objects, besides the eight undisputed major planets, that are larger than 2003 UB313 are Jupiter's satellites Callisto, Io, Europa (not pictured) and Ganymede (the largest moon in the Solar System). Behind Pluto, the next-largest known trans-neptunian objects are 2005 FY9, with a diameter of about 1,800 km, and Sedna (1,700 km). A handful more are larger than Ceres, the largest asteroid in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. .

35 posted on 02/02/2006 10:18:12 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (History is soon Forgotten,)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Oh, drat. Ceres already exists?

Now I need to pick out another name.

How tedious!


36 posted on 02/02/2006 10:20:35 PM PST by Termite_Commander (Warning: Cynical Right-winger Ahead)
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To: SunkenCiv

Thanks for the link.


37 posted on 02/02/2006 10:25:23 PM PST by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Do they make heavenly body bowling balls? A Ganymede bowling ball would be sweet.


38 posted on 02/02/2006 10:28:42 PM PST by Rastus
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Lila (large image opens in new window)

39 posted on 02/02/2006 10:38:54 PM PST by SunkenCiv (In the long run, there is only the short run.)
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To: SunkenCiv

It's so lonely out there!


40 posted on 02/02/2006 10:40:55 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (History is soon Forgotten,)
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To: neverdem

URL corrections:

http://news.nature.com/news/2006/060130/060130-7.html
http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060130/multimedia/060130-7_m1.html


41 posted on 02/02/2006 10:41:12 PM PST by SunkenCiv (In the long run, there is only the short run.)
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To: neverdem

Correction to the corrections:

http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060130/full/060130-7.html


42 posted on 02/02/2006 10:42:44 PM PST by SunkenCiv (In the long run, there is only the short run.)
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To: Termite_Commander

Mike Brown (co-discoverer) suggested an already-used name from the asteroids (Persephone I think), so you're in good company. :') Ceres may eventually make it to the domain of the planets (maybe not soon, but it could happen) because it is big (until recent Kuiper Belt discoveries, Ceres had as much material as all other asteroids combined) and is basically spherical.


43 posted on 02/02/2006 10:44:45 PM PST by SunkenCiv (In the long run, there is only the short run.)
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To: neverdem
I feel kinda sorry for the astronomer who discovered what he thought was a planet in orbit around Barnard's Star. While he may have wound up with bupkis, there's some possibility that he'll be vindicated. Dunno if anyone has tried with the latest and greatest technology (other than the Hubble ST). Gliese 793 was found to have a similar wobble using the same equipment, so Barnard's Star's wobble is generally believed to have been a problem with the mechanism of the instrument itself, rather than an actual slight wobble of the star. It would be amusing if Gliese 793 and Barnard's star both wound up having planets detected around them. :')
Google

44 posted on 02/02/2006 11:01:07 PM PST by SunkenCiv (In the long run, there is only the short run.)
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To: neverdem
Some astronomers argue that Pluto should be stripped of its title, to become a Kuiper Belt Object like its orbital fellows. Others suggest that anything larger than Pluto found in the outskirts of the Solar System should also be called a 'planet', which would include UB313. "I'd prefer to keep Pluto as a planet, for historical reasons," says Bertoldi.

It'll have to be named "Kwanza" after the loonies start whining that Neptune, Jupiter etc are all dead white guys.

45 posted on 02/02/2006 11:03:31 PM PST by ModelBreaker
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To Pluto -- And Far Beyond "To Pluto And Far Beyond" By David H. Levy, Parade, January 15, 2006 -- We don't have a dictionary definition yet that includes all the contingencies. In the wake of the new discovery, however, the International Astronomical Union has set up a group to develop a workable definition of planet. For our part, in consultation with several experienced planetary astronomers, Parade offers this definition: A planet is a body large enough that, when it formed, it condensed under its own gravity to be shaped like a sphere. It orbits a star directly and is not a moon of another planet.

46 posted on 02/02/2006 11:11:15 PM PST by SunkenCiv (In the long run, there is only the short run.)
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To: Darksheare

A very great deal (is "out there...very large...lurking"), is my best guess.


47 posted on 02/03/2006 12:36:31 AM PST by MillerCreek
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To: Termite_Commander
Of course, Ceres was the goddess of motherly love and agriculture (or something), which kinda clashes with a cold, barren, icy rock floating around millions of miles away from the sun...

Are you sure there isn't a Helen Thomas in ancient mythology? She's old enough.

48 posted on 02/03/2006 12:43:14 AM PST by piasa (Attitude Adjustments Offered Here Free of Charge)
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To: Congressman Billybob; sionnsar; Darksheare; Cyber Liberty; Xenalyte; tioga
Let's see ......

We go from calling the sun Greek and Roman the god itself.

To naming the visible planets after other Greek and Roman gods.

To naming new planets and moons after classic Greek and Roman gods from mythology.

To naming mythological TV and movie characters after classic Greek and Roman gods.

To naming newly-created mythological TV and movie characters after made-up Greek and Roman characters named similar to the classic manner.

To naming newly-discovered planets and moons after mythological TV and movie characters named after made-up Greek and Roman characters named similar to the classic manner.
49 posted on 02/03/2006 4:16:50 AM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: ModelBreaker

It'll have to be named "Kwanza" after the loonies start whining that Neptune, Jupiter etc are all dead white gods.


50 posted on 02/03/2006 4:18:02 AM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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