Latest Pluto Stories
NEW YORK -- Pluto was once a planet. Then, a dwarf planet. And as of last week, a plutoid. The fall from grace has teachers, parents and educational publishers struggling to keep up, while kids remain loyal to their favorite, the ninth planet.
An icy, unknown world might lurk in the distant reaches of our solar system beyond the orbit of Pluto, according to a new computer model. The hidden world -- thought to be much bigger than Pluto based on the model -- could explain unusual features of the Kuiper Belt, a region of space beyond Neptune littered with icy and rocky bodies.
Updated 6:35 p.m.
The International Astronomical Union has decided on the term plutoid as a name for dwarf planets like Pluto at a meeting of its Executive Committee in Oslo.
A modern probe on the way to the edge of the solar system is using Sputnik-like tones to send messages back to Earth.
Scientists have discovered the universe's largest known planet, a giant ball made of mostly hydrogen that is 20 times larger than Earth and circling a star 1,400 light-years away.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has teamed up with the W.M. Keck Observatory to precisely measure the mass of Eris, the largest member of a new class of dwarf planets in our solar system. Eris is 1.27 times the mass of Pluto, formerly the largest member of the Kuiper Belt of icy objects beyond Neptune.
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has provided new data on the Jupiter system, stunning scientists with never-before-seen perspectives of the giant planet's atmosphere, rings, moons and magnetosphere.
For the first time, water has been identified in the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet.
New research shows that the current shape a major Kuiper-belt object is the result of a massive impact that occurred about the same time the Earth was forming.
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...
- To befool; deceive; balk; jilt.
- An illusion; a trick; a cheat.