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Latest Dwarf planet Stories

d8c20fdb127adbae66078ef5bd8f3cf8
2009-03-02 11:48:22

Using ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers have gained valuable new insights about the atmosphere of the dwarf planet Pluto. The scientists found unexpectedly large amounts of methane in the atmosphere, and also discovered that the atmosphere is hotter than the surface by about 40 degrees, although it still only reaches a frigid minus 180 degrees Celsius. These properties of Pluto's atmosphere may be due to the presence of pure methane patches or of a methane-rich layer covering the dwarf...

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2009-02-12 18:45:00

Launched in September of 2007, and propelled by any one of a trio of hyper-efficient ion engines, NASA's Dawn spacecraft passed the orbit of Mars last summer. At that time, the asteroid belt (where Dawn's two targets, asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres reside), had never been closer. In early July the spacecraft began to lose altitude, falling back towards the inner solar system. Then on October 31, 2008, after 270 days of almost continuous thrusting, the ion drive turned off. "Not...

0e7c89b74e61f5abb235e8963d0fe182
2009-01-05 13:20:00

Astronomers have turned to an unexpected place to study the evolution of planets -- dead stars. Observations made with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope reveal six dead "white dwarf" stars littered with the remains of shredded asteroids. This might sound pretty bleak, but it turns out the chewed-up asteroids are teaching astronomers about the building materials of planets around other stars. So far, the results suggest that the same materials that make up Earth and our solar system's other rocky...

5220b7f263b29ab42979b25aaa95c7d01
2008-11-21 12:20:00

NASA's Dawn spacecraft shut down its ion propulsion system today as scheduled. The spacecraft is now gliding toward a Mars flyby in February of next year.  "Dawn has completed the thrusting it needs to use Mars for a gravity assist to help get us to Vesta," said Marc Rayman, Dawn's chief engineer, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Dawn will now coast in its orbit around the sun for the next half a year before we again fire up the ion propulsion system to continue...

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2008-10-03 10:00:00

When a treasure hunt comes up empty-handed, the hunters are understandably disappointed. But when astronomers don't find what they are looking for, the defeat can provide as much information as a successful search. The search in question, the Taiwanese-American Occultation Survey (TAOS), spent two years periodically photographing portions of the sky to look for small chunks of rock and ice orbiting beyond Neptune, in a region of the solar system called the Kuiper Belt. The survey targeted...

2008-09-19 17:02:55

Pluto and its dwarf planet brethren have a new friend. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced the name of a new dwarf planet to join the existing four in the solar system. The object previously known as 2003 EL61 is now named Haumea, after the goddess of childbirth and fertility in Hawaiian mythology. The name was decided by members of the International Astronomical Union's Committee on Small Body Nomenclature and the IAU Working Group for Planetary System...

ca97ae923c3251838b20e2cd7663e5051
2008-08-19 08:30:00

According to researchers, a newly discovered "minor planet" may help explain how comets are created. The new object, dubbed 2006 SQ372, is starting the outward portion of its elongated 22,500 year orbit, leaving it nearly 150 billion miles from the Sun at its farthest point. On Monday, researchers said the icy object was over 2 billion miles from Earth, slightly closer than the planet Neptune.  The researchers' findings will be published in the Astrophysical Journal. According to...

62ffdc04f86c97be2d2154fee7d748261
2008-07-21 10:00:00

According to the International Astronomical Union, a dwarf planet beyond Neptune has been given the name Makemake, and has been designated the third plutoid in the solar system. The red, methane-covered Makemake, formerly known as "Easterbunny" or 2005 FY9, is named after the Polynesian god of fertility and creator of humanity. Last month the International Astronomical Union, which names heavenly bodies, created a new rank of sub-planets called plutoids. The other two plutoids are Eris, and...

2008-06-20 16:40:40

NEW YORK -- Pluto was once a planet. Then, a dwarf planet. And as of last week, a plutoid. The fall from grace has teachers, parents and educational publishers struggling to keep up, while kids remain loyal to their favorite, the ninth planet. Underscore planet. Last week, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced Pluto should now be called a "plutoid," two years after the organization voted to demote Pluto to "dwarf planet" status. Meanwhile, many kids are nearly...

2008-06-14 13:27:08

Updated 6:35 p.m. ET Pluto's years-long identity crisis just got more complex today. The International Astronomical Union has decided on the term "plutoid" as a name for Pluto and other objects that just two years ago were redefined as "dwarf planets." The surprise decision is unlikely to stem ongoing controversy and confusion, astronomers say. Sidestepping concerns of many astronomers worldwide, the IAU's decision, at a meeting of its Executive Committee in Oslo, comes almost two years...


Latest Dwarf planet Reference Libraries

4_1d853520a4b7656168ecf3307480d70a2
2004-10-19 04:45:41

Uranus' moon Titania -- Titania is the largest moon of Uranus. Titania was discovered on January 11, 1787 by William Herschel. All of the moons of Uranus are named for characters from Shakespeare or Alexander Pope. Names for the first four discovered moons of Uranus, Oberon, Titania, Ariel and Umbriel, were given by John Herschel, the son of William. Titania was named after Titania, the Queen of the Faeries in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Titania is composed of roughly 50% water...

3_aaa6f0d4aeab03d9ae4d6b2e552621d02
2004-10-19 04:45:40

Brown Dwarf -- Brown dwarfs are a special type of low-mass star (approximately 13-70 Jupiter masses) that do not have nuclear fusion occurring in their cores during their time on the main sequence. Early in their development most brown dwarf stars do have lithium fusion in their cores, and a lack of lithium is a test for low-mass objects that are suspected of being brown dwarfs. Many brown dwarfs continue to glow in the red and infrared after their lithium is exhausted. This glow is...

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Word of the Day
bibliopole
  • A bookseller; now, especially, a dealer in rare and curious books.
This word comes from a Greek phrase meaning 'book seller.'
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