I wrote my 1990 high-school graduation paper about the search for a trans-plutonian planet. (That’s where I got hoodwinked by Zecharia Sitchin.) In its conclusion, I suggested that the search for such close-yet-dim objects could be automated with computer-controlled telescopes and automated image processing.
This is actually what happened. Here’s an informative new video clip by my brother in skeptical blogging, Jeff the Blue Collar Scientist, describing work at the privately owned Junk Bond Observatory in Arizona, where asteroids and comets are being sought. Yep, 18 years down the road, in our own solar system they aren’t looking for planet-sized objects anymore, they’re down to bits of rock and ice a kilometer across.