ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network

Posts Tagged "Pluto"

Dog Spies

Don’t Sell Your Dog Short

5698386067_b91c520965_m

In 1996, veteran dog trainer Jean Donaldson picked a fight with Walt Disney. Donaldson begins her book Culture Clash: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding the Relationship Between Humans and Dogs by explaining that people continue to buy into a made-up, Walt Disney version of dogs. According to Disney, the dog “is very intelligent, has [...]

Keep reading »
Dog Spies

Man’s Best Friend? The Mysterious Role of Oxytocin Revealed

233883651_5d78590638_q

The World of Dog revolves around humans. If you’re a companion dog, who you socialize with, when you frolic in the park, and whether or not you procreate are often determined by someone with two legs. Even if you’re a feral or village dog — and can do pretty much what you want — you [...]

Keep reading »
Life, Unbounded

New Horizons Mission Catches Pluto And Charon Waltzing

Pluto and Charon in their orbits, taken July 2014 (Credit: NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI)

After a ten year journey, NASA’s New Horizons mission is still 420 million kilometers from the Pluto system – but that’s close enough to begin to see the orbital dance of an icy world and its major moon. This far out from the Sun it’s easier for planetary objects to hold onto satellites, so even [...]

Keep reading »
Life, Unbounded

The Fastest Spacecraft Ever?

Who's the fastest of them all? (Credit: NASA)

Of all the spacecraft humans have launched, there have been some impressively fast movers. But which holds the record? It’s not an entirely idle question. Apart from the wow factor, it’s an interesting yardstick for gauging our capacity to explore the cosmos, from familiar planets to the icy depths of space. However, as I quickly [...]

Keep reading »
Life, Unbounded

Help Name Two Of Pluto’s Moons

Pluto's currently known moons (Credit: NASA/HST)

Far from the Sun planetary bodies can hold onto many more moons. The latest count for Pluto is five satellites, and the most recent two need names. Back in 2011 and 2012 it was announced that Hubble Space Telescope observations of the Pluto system had spied first one and then another new candidate moon. For [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Neptune’s New Moon May Be Named after One of Sea God’s Monstrous Children

Neptune's new moon

This past Monday, the planet Neptune officially got a new moon, a relatively tiny chunk of rock and ice about as wide as Manhattan is long. The object is currently dubbed S/2004 N 1, and it’s the fourteenth now known to circle that distant icy world. Mark Showalter, a researcher at the SETI Institute in [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Pluto Might Be the Largest Dwarf Planet, after All

Pluto is certainly the most famous (and beloved) object among the group that astronomers call dwarf planets, but for years it’s appeared to rank a distant second in terms of size. Eris, a dwarf planet discovered in 2005, has been estimated to be as much as 700 kilometers larger than Pluto in diameter. But a [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Is Pluto the biggest dwarf planet after all?

Dwarf planet Eris from HST

Pluto’s controversial demotion from planetary status came in 2006 after the rapid discovery of comparably sized bodies—now named Haumea, Makemake and Eris—made Pluto look rather ordinary. In particular, Eris was found to be larger in diameter than Pluto, raising the question of what separated a planet from numerous smaller bodies. The International Astronomical Union decided [...]

Keep reading »
The Thoughtful Animal

Book Review: How I Killed Pluto by Mike Brown

Mike Brown always wanted to discover a planet. On August 25, 2006, Mike Brown killed Pluto. Well, the truth is Pluto had been killed long before, but it wasn’t until August 25 that the International Astronomical Union met, in Prague, to have the official vote. And it wasn’t until August 25 that the press conference [...]

Keep reading »

More from Scientific American

Scientific American Back To School

Back to School Sale!

12 Digital Issues + 4 Years of Archive Access just $19.99

Order Now >

X

Email this Article

X