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Latest Pluto Stories

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2005-09-10 09:38:31

Astrobiology Magazine -- When planetary scientists announced on July 29 that they had discovered a new planet larger than Pluto, the news overshadowed the two other objects the group had also found. But all three objects are odd additions to the solar system, and as such could revolutionize our understanding of how our part of the celestial neighborhood evolved. To the discoverers, the objects still go by the unofficial code-names "Santa," "Easterbunny," and "Xena," though they are...

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2005-09-07 14:24:58

NASA -- Observations of 1 Ceres, the largest known asteroid, have revealed that the object may be a "mini planet," and may contain large amounts of pure water ice beneath its surface. The observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope also show that Ceres shares characteristics of the rocky, terrestrial planets like Earth. Ceres' shape is almost round like Earth's, suggesting that the asteroid may have a "differentiated interior," with a rocky inner core and a thin, dusty outer crust. "Ceres...

2005-08-01 08:01:18

By Gina Keating LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California astronomer has discovered what he believes is the 10th planet in our solar system, a group of NASA-funded researchers said on Friday. The new planet, known as 2003UB313, has been identified as the most distant object ever detected orbiting the sun, California Institute of Technology astronomer Michael Brown said. Brown and colleagues Chad Trujillo and David Rabinowitz have submitted a name for the planet to the International...

2005-07-29 20:50:35

By Gina Keating LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California astronomer has discovered what he believes is the 10th planet in our solar system, a group of NASA-funded researchers said on Friday. The new planet, known as 2003UB313, has been identified as the most distant object ever detected orbiting the sun, California Institute of Technology astronomer Michael Brown said. Brown and colleagues Chad Trujillo and David Rabinowitz have submitted a name for the planet to the International...

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2005-07-23 10:06:55

Astrobiology Magazine -- In a feat of astronomical and terrestrial alignment, a group of scientists from MIT and Williams College recently succeeded in observing distant Pluto's tiny moon, Charon, hide a star. Such an event had been seen only once before, by a single telescope 25 years ago, and then not nearly as well. The MIT-Williams consortium spotted it with four telescopes in Chile on the night of July 10-11. In addition to assessing whether Charon has an atmosphere, the team expects to...

2005-07-20 17:40:00

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - In a feat of astronomical and terrestrial alignment, a group of scientists from MIT (Cambridge, Mass.) and Williams College (Williamstown, Mass.) recently succeeded in observing distant Pluto's tiny moon, Charon, hide a star. Such an event had been seen only once before, by a single telescope 25 years ago, and then not nearly as well. The MIT-Williams consortium spotted it with four telescopes in Chile on the night of July 10-11. In addition to assessing whether Charon has...

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2005-06-22 12:15:00

NASA -- The Hubble Space Telescope's most detailed visible-light image ever taken of a narrow, dusty ring around the nearby star Fomalhaut (HD 216956), offers the strongest evidence yet that an unruly and unseen planet may be gravitationally tugging on the ring. Hubble unequivocally shows that the center of the ring is a whopping 1.4 billion miles (15 astronomical units) away from the star. This is a distance equal to nearly halfway across our solar system. The most plausible explanation,...

2005-06-13 15:10:00

The first spacecraft designed to study Pluto, the solar system's farthest planet, took the first steps on a long journey today when it was shipped from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md. "” where it was designed and built "” to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., for its next round of pre-launch tests. Proposed for launch in January 2006, the New Horizons spacecraft spent the past week in an APL vibration test lab, where...

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2005-06-13 11:55:00

NASA -- The first spacecraft designed to study Pluto, the last planet in our solar system, arrived at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Md., today for a series of pre-launch checkouts. "We are extremely proud to have the NASA's New Horizons mission make Goddard the first stop in its journey to the last planet," said Dr. Ed Weiler, GSFC Center Director. "The New Horizons mission to Pluto is an historic journey of exploration to unlock secrets from a mysterious planet so...

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2005-05-06 12:32:16

JPL -- Saturn's battered little moon Phoebe is an interloper to the Saturn system from the deep outer solar system, scientists have concluded. The new findings appear in the May 5 issue of the journal Nature. "Phoebe was left behind from the solar nebula, the cloud of interstellar gas and dust from which the planets formed," said Dr. Torrence Johnson, Cassini imaging team member at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.  "It did not form at Saturn.  It was captured...


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...

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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...

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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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