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Latest Pluto Stories

2006-08-16 13:25:00

By Alan Crosby PRAGUE -- Learning the planets of our solar system is about to become more difficult for school children around the world. The International Astronomers Union (IAU) put forward a definition of a planet on Wednesday that will expand the number from nine to 12, and create different categories of planets in a nod to technological advances that allow astronomers to look deeper into space. In defining for the first time what exactly a planet is, a seven member committee of the IAU...

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2006-08-16 17:34:24

WASHINGTON - The idea that our nine-planet solar system may soon join the obsolete world of eight-track tapes and slide rules should send science teachers, textbook writers and toymakers back to the cosmic drawing board. "Does it make our products obsolete?" asked Kim McLynn, spokeswoman for Illinois-based Learning Resources, which makes an inflatable solar system and a Planet Quest game. "Wow, a whole new universe." Though not approved yet, the 76-year-old lineup of the solar system's...

2006-08-16 13:27:18

By Alan Crosby PRAGUE (Reuters) - The question of whether Pluto is a real planet, hotly debated by scientists for decades, came to a head on Wednesday when the global astronomers' body proposed a definition of a planet that raises their number to 12 from nine. The definition set out by a committee of the International Astronomers Union (IAU) answers the key question: How small can a body be and still be called a planet? in a way that leaves Pluto's status intact -- but modified....

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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....

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2006-08-15 07:50:00

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- Scientists have to agree on a universal definition for what qualifies as a planet, the head of a global astronomy organization said Tuesday, as scientists debate the future designation of Pluto. "People have to be able to agree on a terminology that's used to describe things in the universe," Ronald D. Ekers, president of the International Astronomical Union, told reporters in Prague. "We don't want an American version, a European version and a Japanese version."...

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 09:08:58

Each of our Solar System's outer gaseous planets hosts a system of multiple satellites, and these objects include Jupiter's volcanic Io and Europa with its believed subsurface ocean, as well as Titan with its dense and organic-rich atmosphere at Saturn. While individual satellite properties vary, the systems all share a striking similarity: the total mass of each satellite system compared to the mass of its host planet is very nearly a constant ratio, roughly 1:10,000. Research by...

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2006-05-10 18:15:00

SANTA CRUZ, CA -- Neptune's large moon Triton may have abandoned an earlier partner to arrive in its unusual orbit around Neptune. Triton is unique among all the large moons in the solar system because it orbits Neptune in a direction opposite to the planet's rotation (a "retrograde" orbit). It is unlikely to have formed in this configuration and was probably captured from elsewhere. In the May 11 issue of the journal Nature, planetary scientists Craig Agnor of the University of California,...

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2006-04-25 15:15:00

NEWPORT BEACH, CA -- The Binary Research Institute (BRI) has found that orbital characteristics of the recently discovered planetoid, "Sedna", demonstrate the possibility that our sun might be part of a binary star system. A binary star system consists of two stars gravitationally bound orbiting a common center of mass. Once thought to be highly unusual, such systems are now considered to be common in the Milky Way galaxy. Walter Cruttenden at BRI, Professor Richard Muller at UC Berkeley,...


Latest Pluto 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...

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_6800f2092e75e4b2d9813609957b23e52
2004-10-19 04:45:41

Kuiper Belt -- The Kuiper belt is an area of the solar system extending outwards from the orbit of Neptune (at 30 AU) to 50 AU. The largest of the objects in the Kuiper belt are the planet Pluto and its moon Charon. A new Kuiper belt object, currently called 2001 KX76, has been found that is about the size of Charon, and larger than Ceres. Another such object, Quaoar, discovered in 2002, is half the size of Pluto. Other known Kuiper belt objects are progressively smaller. The exact...

4_f6c7da539e4ce5858ae8aafa252e5d7e2
2004-10-19 04:45:41

Planet Charon -- Charon is the only known satellite of Pluto. Charon was discovered by astronomer James Christy in 1978 using photographic plates which showed a bulge moving around Pluto. Christy named it after the Greek mythological figure Charon but pronounced it differently. The "ch" at the beginning of the moon's name is soft so it sounds like "Sharon," after the astronomer's wife Charlene, nicknamed Char, which both have soft ch sounds. The mythological figure's name is...

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Word of the Day
callithump
  • A somewhat riotous parade, accompanied with the blowing of tin horns, and other discordant noises; also, a burlesque serenade; a charivari.
'Callithump' is a back-formation of 'callithumpian,' a 'fanciful formation' according to the Oxford English Dictionary. However, the English Dialect Dictionary, says 'Gallithumpians' is a Dorset and Devon word from the 1790s that refers to 'a society of radical social reformers' or 'noisy disturbers of elections and meetings.'
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