dwarf planet

11 Stories

Farthest Object in Our Solar System Has Been Found

Dwarf planet V774104 is about 9.6B miles from the sun

(Newser) - Think Pluto is far from us? It's a hop, skip, and a jump away compared to what may be the most distant object in our solar system, which is "three times farther than Pluto is from the sun," astronomer Scott Sheppard explains. Sheppard and his colleagues used... More »

This Is a Spacecraft's First Color Pic of Pluto

New Horizons will have much sharper ones soon

(Newser) - Pluto and Charon, its Texas-sized moon, are still just blobs in what NASA says is the "first color image ever made of the Pluto system by a spacecraft on approach," but they're a sign of very exciting things to come. After nine years and 2.9 billion... More »

Ceres Bright Spots Now a Double Mystery

Some are cold but others aren't, Dawn spacecraft reveals

(Newser) - NASA now has a spacecraft in orbit for a long-awaited look at Ceres—and while researchers are learning a lot about the dwarf planet, they're now doubly puzzled by the planet's mysterious bright spots . As the Dawn spacecraft closes in, scientists have realized there are multiple bright spots,... More »

'I Am in Orbit Around Ceres,' Spacecraft Tweets

Dawn, pulled in by dwarf planet's gravity, is first craft to orbit 2 extraterrestrial objects

(Newser) - You heard it straight from the spacecraft's mouth: "Confirmed: I am in orbit around #Ceres." That was the tweet sent out from the Dawn Mission at 9:37am EST this morning to announce NASA's first spacecraft to arrive at a dwarf planet. The agency confirmed the... More »

Mission May Unravel Mystery of Ceres' 2 Bright Spots

NASA spacecraft enters the dwarf planet's orbit on March 6

(Newser) - With a NASA spacecraft closing in on the dwarf planet Ceres , scientists were looking forward to figuring out the origins of a mysterious bright spot. But it turns out there are actually two bright spots, right next to each other, reports Mashable . The best guess continues to be ice of... More »

NASA Closes In on Dwarf Planet— and Its Mystery Spot

Ceres asteroid might even hold oceans: experts

(Newser) - After years of preparation, NASA is about to learn a lot more about an asteroid that, a scientist says, is "actually the largest body between the sun and Pluto that a spacecraft has not yet visited." In exploring the 600-mile-wide Ceres, "we're going to reveal the... More »

New Dwarf Planet 'Biden' May Offer Cosmic Secrets

Discovery at solar system's edge hints at more to come

(Newser) - Astronomers, and reporters who cover astronomy, are pretty excited today about the discovery of a suspected dwarf planet named 2012 VP-113—and thus nicknamed "Biden"—in the nether regions of the solar system beyond Pluto. Some snippets:
  • Nature : "The Solar System just got a lot more far-flung.
... More »

New Asteroid Points to Habitable Exoplanets

Scientists spot water-rich asteroid 170 light-years from Earth

(Newser) - Scientists have spotted the remains of a water-rich asteroid, orbiting a dying star about 170 light-years from Earth. It's more than a bit of space waste—the find suggests that this far-off solar system may have once had planets capable of supporting life, the LA Times reports. "The... More »

Small, Heavy, and Shiny— Planetoid Surprises Astronomers

Distant Eris may be more like Mercury than Pluto

(Newser) - It's been six years since distant Eris was discovered, a small planetoid that led to Pluto losing its planetary status. But since it lies three times further from the sun than Pluto, Eris was very difficult to observe and little was known about it—until now. Last year Eris... More »

Pluto Is Still a Planet, Illinois Senate Declares

(Newser) - Having helped install a hometown boy in the White House and ousted its colorful governor, Illinois is next out to save Pluto, the Guardian reports. The state senate blasted the International Astronomical Union’s 2006 decision to demote the erstwhile ninth planet to a “dwarf planet,” and voted... More »

Dwarf Planet Gets a Name

Smaller than Pluto, Makemake is covered in frozen methane

(Newser) - The neighborhood of the solar system beyond Neptune has a new resident—or rather, an old resident with a new name. The dwarf planet originally dubbed Easterbunny will now be known as Makemake (pronounced MAH-keh MAH-keh), reports USA Today. More »

11 Stories