International Astronomical Union

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New Definition Could Make the Moon a Planet

Astronomer's mathematical formula could help in identifying exoplanets

(Newser) - You'll remember the International Astronomical Union's redefinition of a planet in 2006 as the move that demoted Pluto to a mere dwarf planet. But scientists recall the change for another reason: The new classification is incredibly vague. Basically, any nearly round celestial body that orbits the sun and... More »

Astronomers: No, You Can't Name Mars Craters

IAU won't recognize paid-for names

(Newser) - A plan to raise money by selling the names of Mars' craters has hit a snag: the organization in charge of naming craters on Mars and most other features in our solar system. The International Astronomical Union says Uwingu—a commercial venture that aims to raise money for space research—... More »

Astronomers Ignore People's Pick for Pluto Moon Name

Moons named Styx and Kerberos, despite William Shatner's campaign

(Newser) - Though Star Trek fans (led by William Shatner) overwhelmingly won an online vote to name one of Pluto's recently found moons "Vulcan" earlier this year, the International Astronomical Union has decided against the moniker. It has named the former planet's fourth and fifth moons "Styx" and... More »

'Vulcan' Wins Pluto's Moon Naming Contest

'Captain Kirk' hails win as Cerberus comes 2nd

(Newser) - The contest to pick Hades-related names for Pluto's fourth and fifth moons is over and the winner will be familiar to Star Trek fans: Vulcan was the runaway winner of the poll at , taking 174,000 votes out of 475,000 cast for 21 candidates. Vulcan is... 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 »

Astronomers Throw Pluto a Bone

Disgraced former planet gets its own category: 'plutoid'

(Newser) - Pluto-fans depressed over the former planet's demotion may be cheered by a new decision that small, nearly spherical objects orbiting beyond Neptune will be called "plutoids." The new name has been sanctioned by the International Astronomical Union, the same organization that stripped Pluto of its planetary status 2... More »

Meet Frank, Saturn's 60th Moon

Planet's latest addition sparks search for more

(Newser) - Scientists have discovered Saturn’s 60th moon, and are hinting that more could exist. In May, cameras aboard the Cassini spacecraft captured the “extremely faint object,” which scientists have officially designated a moon and tentatively named Frank. Composed mostly of ice and rock, Frank is about a mile... More »

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