Latest Trans-Neptunian object Stories

Image 1 - Astronomers Size-Up Dwarf Planet Eris
2011-10-27 06:46:19

[ Watch the Video ] The European Southern Observatory (ESO) announced on Wednesday that astronomers have accurately measured the diameter of the dwarf planet Eris for the first time. The astronomers believe that the dwarf planet is an almost perfect twin of Pluto in terms of size.  The planet, according to ESO, appears to have a reflective surface, which suggests it is uniformly covered in a thin layer of ice. Astronomers made observations as Eris passed in front of a faint...

2010-10-28 06:15:00

The sun isn't kind to objects without atmospheres. Bombarded by solar radiation, the surfaces of some comets, for example, tend to be a charred carbon-black. But the 1,000 objects so far directly imaged in the Kuiper Belt "“ that swath of icy bodies circling around the sun with Pluto "“ appear to be a wide range of colors: red, blue, and white. With scant observations to go on "“ most of the Kuiper belt objects are just a single pixel of light to the Hubble Space Telescope...

2010-09-13 10:55:00

Beyond the orbit of Neptune reside countless icy rocks known as trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs). One of the biggest, Pluto, is classified as a dwarf planet. The region also supplies us with comets such as famous Comet Halley. Most TNOs are small and receive little sunlight, making them faint and difficult to spot. Now, astronomers using clever techniques to cull the data archives of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have added 14 new TNOs to the catalog. Their method promises to turn up hundreds...

2010-06-16 14:31:04

Occultation provided enough data to determine the KBO's size and albedo Until now, astronomers have used telescopes to find Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs), moon-sized bodies, and obtain their spectra to determine what types of ices are on their surface. They have also used thermal-imaging techniques to get a rough idea of the size of KBOs, but other details have been difficult to glean. While astronomers think there are about 70,000 KBOs that are larger than 100 kilometers in diameter, the...

2008-09-19 17:02:55

Pluto and its dwarf planet brethren have a new friend. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced the name of a new dwarf planet to join the existing four in the solar system. The object previously known as 2003 EL61 is now named Haumea, after the goddess of childbirth and fertility in Hawaiian mythology. The name was decided by members of the International Astronomical Union's Committee on Small Body Nomenclature and the IAU Working Group for Planetary System...

2008-09-05 12:30:00

An international team of scientists that includes University of British Columbia astronomer Brett Gladman has found an unusual object whose backward and tilted orbit around the Sun may clarify the origins of certain comets. In the first discovery of its kind, researchers from Canada, France and the United States have discovered an object that orbits around the Sun backwards, and tilted at an angle of 104 degrees "“ almost perpendicular to the orbits of the planets. "Certain types of...

2008-07-21 10:00:00

According to the International Astronomical Union, a dwarf planet beyond Neptune has been given the name Makemake, and has been designated the third plutoid in the solar system. The red, methane-covered Makemake, formerly known as "Easterbunny" or 2005 FY9, is named after the Polynesian god of fertility and creator of humanity. Last month the International Astronomical Union, which names heavenly bodies, created a new rank of sub-planets called plutoids. The other two plutoids are Eris, and...

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...

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...

2004-12-31 08:39:33

Counting down the top ten astrobiology stories for 2004 highlights the accomplishments of those exploring Mars, Saturn, comets, and planets beyond Pluto. Number six in this countdown was the discovery of potential heat sources for ice beyond Pluto, an important finding if water is considered the key ingredient to understanding biological probabilities elsewhere in the solar system. Astrobiology Magazine -- Number six on the countdown of 2004 highlights was detection of planetoids beyond...

Latest Trans-Neptunian object Reference Libraries

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...

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
  • A fool; a simpleton: a term of abuse common in Ireland and to a less extent in the Gaelic-speaking parts of Scotland.
This word is partly Irish in origin.