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Latest Kuiper belt Stories

2006-08-24 15:47:31

By Donna Smith WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pluto's lost status disappointed some schoolchildren and had space museum curators scrambling but in the words of one teenager, "It's one less planet to memorize." Quinn Huebner, 15, was visiting the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum on Thursday when he and his family from Mazomanie, Wisconsin, learned international astronomers had decided Pluto was no longer a planet. His sister Grace, 11, also voiced relief. Had Pluto...

2006-08-22 09:30:00

By Alan Crosby PRAGUE -- In coming up with the definition of a planet, astronomers hoped to bring order to the way we look at solar systems. Instead, they created a big bang of their own. A committee formed by the International Astronomers Union (IAU) has proposed that to be called a planet, a celestial body must be in orbit around a star while not itself being a star. It also must be large enough in mass for its own gravity to pull it into a nearly spherical shape. The new definition -- the...

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2006-08-19 15:05:00

PASADENA, Calif. -- Few planet hunters stand to gain as much as Michael Brown if our solar system balloons to 12 planets under a new definition. He's spotted more than a dozen objects that might qualify as planets. So why is he upset? "When I was a kid, planets were special," he said. "This definition takes the magic out of the solar system." It was Brown's discovery of an icy rock bigger than Pluto that helped lead astronomers to rethink their definition of what a planet is. But Brown...

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2006-08-16 06:55:00

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- The universe really is expanding - astronomers are proposing to rewrite the textbooks to say that our solar system has 12 planets rather than the nine memorized by generations of schoolchildren. Much-maligned Pluto would remain a planet - and its largest moon plus two other heavenly bodies would join Earth's neighborhood - under a draft resolution to be formally presented Wednesday to the International Astronomical Union, the arbiter of what is and isn't a planet....

2006-08-13 11:55:53

By Alan Crosby PRAGUE (Reuters) - Despite being the farthest planet from Earth in our solar system, Pluto has come under attack from astronomers and may be about to lose its status in the battle. Some 3,000 astronomers and scientists from around the world will meet in Prague this week to decide whether Pluto, discovered in 1930, measures up to the definition of a planet. In defining for the first time what exactly a planet is, the International Astronomers Union (IAU) may be forced...

2006-08-13 11:55:00

By Alan Crosby PRAGUE -- Despite being the farthest planet from Earth in our solar system, Pluto has come under attack from astronomers and may be about to lose its status in the battle. Some 3,000 astronomers and scientists from around the world will meet in Prague this week to decide whether Pluto, discovered in 1930, measures up to the definition of a planet. In defining for the first time what exactly a planet is, the International Astronomers Union (IAU) may be forced to downgrade...

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2006-06-16 09:38:26

Washington, DC -- Three new objects locked into roughly the same orbit as Neptune -- called "Trojan" asteroids -- have been found by researchers from the Carnegie Institution's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) and the Gemini Observatory in Hilo, Hawaii. The discovery offers evidence that Neptune, much like its big cousin Jupiter, hosts thick clouds of Trojans in its orbit, and that these asteroids probably share a common source. It also brings the total of known Neptune Trojans...

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2006-04-11 12:50:00

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has resolved the "tenth planet," nicknamed "Xena" for the first time, and has found that it is only just a little larger than Pluto. Though previous ground-based observations suggested that Xena was about 30 percent greater in diameter than Pluto, Hubble observations taken on Dec. 9 and 10, 2005, yield a diameter of 1,490 miles (with an uncertainty of 60 miles) for Xena. Pluto's diameter, as measured by Hubble, is 1,422 miles. "Hubble is the only telescope...

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2006-03-14 00:55:00

By Irene Klotz HOUSTON -- Particles from any icy comet that were collected and returned to Earth aboard a NASA science satellite show dozens of minerals that form only in extreme heat -- a finding that complicates theories about how the solar system formed, scientists said on Monday. Prevailing theories about the solar system's formation cannot explain how this high-temperature material ended up in the frigid regions beyond Neptune's orbit, the so-called Kuiper Belt where comets formed....

2006-02-22 15:41:35

LONDON (Reuters) - The tiny, distant and frozen planet Pluto, for 30 years believed to have just one moon, has suddenly been found to have two more satellites. Only discovered in 1930 because of its vast distance from Earth, Pluto has remained a largely enigmatic object ever since. Some three billion miles from the Sun, Pluto, the ninth planet, is the only one not yet to have been visited by a spacecraft. Its first known satellite Charon was not discovered until 1978. With a...


Latest Kuiper belt Reference Libraries

6_07e7808819d3a0e0b1e9459490122f2b2
2004-10-19 04:45:42

Planet -- A planet is a body of considerable mass that orbits a star and that doesn't produce energy through nuclear fusion. Until recently, only nine were known (all of them in our own Solar system). As of the end of 2002 over 100 are known, with all of the new discoveries being extrasolar planets. Astronomers often call asteroids minor planets, and call the larger planetary bodies (those which are commonly called planets) major planets. Planets within the solar system can be...

6_79b1bf0245952aa2e5b479867b1c322b2
2004-10-19 04:45:41

Asteroid -- An asteroid, also called a minor planet or planetoid, is a member of a group of small, planet-like bodies that are part of our solar system. They are believed to be remnants of the interstellar clouds, nebula, that were not incorporated into planets during the formation of the solar system. The largest asteroid in the inner solar system is Ceres with a diameter of 1003 km. It also was the first to be discovered, by Giuseppe Piazzi on January 1, 1801. Nowadays, over 9000...

Solar System
2012-10-22 06:09:41

The Solar System refers to the area in space that is dominated by our own Sun. It is comprised of the Sun and its associated astronomical objects that are held in its gravitational orbit. The Solar System was formed as a result of the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The mass of this system is located almost entirely in the Sun. Apart from the Sun, a high percentage of the remainder of the system’s mass is located in the eight solitary planets that...

4_fa986c4947be6caa1fdc9a322408b0882
2004-10-19 04:45:41

Quaoar -- Quaoar ("kwah-oh-ahr", /kwA o Ar/) is a Trans-Neptunian object circling the Sun in the Kuiper belt, discovered in 2002 by astronomers Chad Trujillo and Mike Brown at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. Quaoar is estimated to have a diameter of about 1,280 kilometres, which would make it the largest Solar System object discovered since Pluto and, indeed, the largest known minor planet. Larger than all the asteroids put together, it is about one...

4_dc08febfcab194aed2ada6677c525dc62
2004-10-19 04:45:41

Oort Cloud -- The Oort cloud is a postulated cloud of comets situated about 50,000 to 100,000 AU from the sun. Although no direct observations have been made of such a cloud, it is believed to be the source of most or all comets entering the inner solar system (some short-period comets may come from the Kuiper belt), based on observations of the orbits of comets. The Oort cloud was proposed in 1950 by Dutch astronomer Jan Oort to explain an apparent contradiction: comets are destroyed...

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Word of the Day
omadhaun
  • A fool; a simpleton: a term of abuse common in Ireland and to a less extent in the Gaelic-speaking parts of Scotland.
This word is partly Irish in origin.