Latest Pluto Stories
By Bill Trott WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The American astronomer who put Pluto on the solar system map would have accepted its demotion to non-planet status because he was a good scientist, his widow said on Thursday. "Clyde said, 'Well, it's there.
PRAGUE (Reuters) - Scientists from around the world on Thursday approved a new definition of a planet, downgrading Pluto's status to leave just eight classical planets.
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.
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."
Learning the planets of our solar system is about to become more difficult for school children around the world.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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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