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Latest Pluto Stories

aa42c1230ddce37ed95e3c93f9242e6f1
2006-01-12 14:35:00

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- It will be the fastest spacecraft ever launched, zooming past the moon in nine hours and reaching Jupiter in just over a year at a speed nearly 100 times that of a jetliner. Its target is Pluto - the solar system's last unexplored planet, 3 billion miles from Earth. And the New Horizons spacecraft, set for liftoff on Tuesday, could reach it within nine years. Pluto, a tiny, icy misfit of a planet - some say it's not a planet at all - neither resembles the rocky...

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2006-01-05 10:25:00

Stellar occultation allows VLT to determine Charon's size and to put upper limit on its atmosphere ESO -- Observing a very rare occultation of a star by Pluto's satellite Charon from three different sites, including Paranal, home of the VLT, astronomers were able to determine with great accuracy the radius and density of the satellite to the farthest planet. The density, 1.71 that of water, is indicative of an icy body with about slightly more than half of rocks. The observations also put...

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2006-01-03 10:20:00

Cambridge, MA -- Mercury is boiling. Mars is freezing. The Earth is just right. When it comes to the temperatures of the planets, it makes sense that they should get colder the farther away they are from the Sun. But then there is Pluto. It has been suspected that this remote world might be even colder than it should be. Smithsonian scientists now have shown this to be true. Scientists continue to discuss whether Pluto is a planet or should be considered a refugee from the Kuiper belt....

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2005-12-20 08:10:00

The New Horizons spacecraft, scheduled for launch in mid-January, will investigate the far-off planet Pluto and its icy moons. This will be the first spacecraft to study the Pluto system, as well as the mysterious outer region of our solar system known as the Kuiper Belt. Astrobiology Magazine -- The New Horizons mission is currently preparing for a mid-January launch to Pluto. Pluto is one of the most mysterious objects in our solar system. Ten thousand times fainter than the eye can see,...

2005-12-16 17:20:00

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - A small spacecraft bound for Pluto was being prepared for transfer to the launch pad on Friday in preparation for blastoff next month, NASA officials said. New Horizons is the centerpiece of a $650 million mission to explore the last of the solar system's original nine planets. Scientists recently have discovered hundreds of Pluto-like objects orbiting more than 50 times farther away from the sun than Earth. NASA is giving New Horizons one of...

2005-10-31 15:55:35

By Deborah Zabarenko WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pluto, that cosmic oddball at the far reaches of our solar system, may have three moons instead of one, scientists announced on Monday. Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope glimpsed the two new satellites back in May, and were intrigued when the pair of possible moons appeared to move around Pluto over three days in what looked like a nearly circular orbit. If confirmed by the International Astronomical Union, they will get...

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2005-10-31 13:10:00

NASA -- Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to view the ninth planet in our solar system, astronomers discovered Pluto may have not one, but three moons. If confirmed, the discovery of the two new moons could offer insights into the nature and evolution of the Pluto system; Kuiper Belt Objects with satellite systems; and the early Kuiper Belt. The Kuiper Belt is a vast region of icy, rocky bodies beyond Neptune's orbit. "If, as our new Hubble images indicate, Pluto has not one, but two or...

2005-10-28 13:05:00

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- A Lockheed Martin Atlas 5 rocket being prepared to launch NASA's first probe to Pluto was slightly damaged when Hurricane Wilma cut a swath through Florida but should still be able to launch as planned, officials said on Friday. The 200-foot (61-meter) tall rocket was standing vertically inside its assembly hangar at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station when Wilma blasted through on Monday, bringing wind gusts up to 76 mph (122 kph) to the spaceport on...

2005-10-02 11:51:59

By Deborah Zabarenko WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Xena, the possible 10th planet in our solar system, has its own moon, a dim little satellite called Gabrielle, its discoverers reported. Astronomers who reported Xena's discovery in July said they detected Xena's sidekick on September 10 using the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Their findings will be submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters on Monday. "Since the day we discovered Xena, the big question has been whether or...

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2005-10-02 00:55:00

LOS ANGELES -- The astronomers who claim to have discovered the 10th planet in the solar system have another intriguing announcement: It has a moon. While observing the new, so-called planet from Hawaii last month, a team of astronomers led by Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology spotted a faint object trailing next to it. Because it was moving, astronomers ruled it was a moon and not a background star, which is stationary. The moon discovery is important because it can...


Latest Pluto Reference Libraries

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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...

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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...

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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
Cthulhu
  • A gigantic fictional humanoid alien god being described with a head resembling an octopus and dragon wings and claws, around whom an insane cult developed.
  • Pertaining to the mythos of Cthulhu and additional otherworldly beings created by H. P. Lovecraft or inspired by his writings and imitators.
This word was invented in 1926 by H.P. Lovecraft for his short story, 'The Call of Cthulhu.' 'Cthulhu' may be based on the word 'chthonic,' which in Greek mythology refers to the underworld.
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