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Latest Pluto Stories

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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...

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2005-04-15 16:25:50

Gemini -- Recent spectroscopic studies of infrared light reflected from the surface of Sedna reveal that it is probably unlike Pluto and Charon since Sedna's surface does not display evidence for a large amount of either water or methane ice. Due to Sedna's extreme distance from the Sun, the frigid surface has probably been untouched for millions of years by anything except cosmic rays and solar ultraviolet radiation. Gemini Observatory astronomer Chad Trujillo led an effort by the same...

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2005-04-05 19:20:00

Cambridge, MA -- When the distant planetoid Sedna was discovered on the outer edges of our solar system, it posed a puzzle to scientists. Sedna appeared to be spinning very slowly compared to most solar system objects, completing one rotation every 20 days. Astronomers hypothesized that this world possessed an unseen moon whose gravity was slowing Sedna's spin. Yet Hubble Space Telescope images showed no sign of a moon large enough to affect Sedna. New measurements by Scott Gaudi, Krzysztof...

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2005-02-06 09:50:00

Flagstaff, AZ -- The planet Pluto turns 75 this month. Clyde Tombaugh discovered the ninth planet in the solar system on the afternoon of February 18, 1930 while he meticulously examined a pair of deep sky photographs at Lowell Observatory.  Tombaugh exposed the photographs on two nights in late January using the Observatory's 13-inch Abbott Lawrence Lowell Telescope. Then, as part of the carefully planned and executed planet search, Tombaugh "blinked" the two exposures using a machine...

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2005-02-01 07:05:00

The evolution of Kuiper Belt objects, Pluto and its lone moon Charon may have something in common with Earth and our single Moon: a giant impact in the distant past. Astrobiology Magazine -- The evolution of Kuiper Belt objects, Pluto and its lone moon Charon may have something in common with Earth and our single Moon: a giant impact in the distant past. Dr. Robin Canup, assistant director of Southwest Research Institute's (SwRI) Department of Space Studies, argues for such an origin for the...

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2005-01-10 15:25:00

Hubble -- Unique follow up observations carried out with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope are providing important supporting evidence for the existence of a candidate planetary companion to a relatively bright young brown dwarf star located 225 light-years away in the southern constellation Hydra.Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile detected the planet candidate in April 2004 with infrared observations using adaptive optics to sharpen their view....

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2005-01-10 15:20:00

JPL -- Astronomers say a dusty disc swirling around the nearby star Vega is bigger than earlier thought. It was probably caused by collisions of objects, perhaps as big as the planet Pluto, up to 2,000 kilometers (about 1,200 miles) in diameter. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has seen the dusty aftermath of this "run-in." Astronomers think embryonic planets smashed together, shattered into pieces and repeatedly crashed into other fragments to create ever-finer debris. Vega's light heats the...


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
conjunto
  • A style of popular dance music originating along the border between Texas and Mexico, characterized by the use of accordion, drums, and 12-string bass guitar and traditionally based on polka, waltz, and bolero rhythms.
The word 'conjunto' comes through Spanish, from Latin coniūnctus, past participle of coniungere, to join together; see conjoin