ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network

Posts Tagged "dwarf planets"

Observations

Looking for Life in Our Soggy Solar System

Hubble Space Telescope data revealing Ganymede's ultraviolet aurorae overlays a visible-light image of the icy moon taken by NASA's Galileo orbiter. The ultraviolet aurorae are rocking back and forth in synchrony with Jupiter's magnetic field, suggesting the presence of a large ocean beneath Ganymede's surface. Credit: NASA/ESA/J. Saur/JPL/The Galileo Project

Scientists are finding liquid water, the cornerstone for life as we know it, in surprising nooks and crannies of the solar system. Following Wednesday’s news that there seem to be hydrothermal vents churning away in the warm, alkaline seas inside Saturn’s moon Enceladus, researchers announced airtight evidence yesterday that Jupiter’s moon Ganymede also has a [...]

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

Hot and Cold: Dwarf Planet Makemake Could Have Extreme Temperatures Side by Side

Diagram of largest known trans-Neptunian Objects

NANTES, France—Makemake may well have the most exotic name of the dwarf planets, and it now looks to be just as unusual on its surface. One of five recognized dwarf planets in our solar system, Makemake (pronounced MAH-kee MAH-kee) was discovered in 2005 in a broad, elliptical orbit outside the realm of Neptune. Its location places [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Hope for Future Discoveries Both Near and Far at the American Astronomical Society Meeting

Pan-STARRS telescope

Late Wednesday night I bumped into an old friend on the subway. It was past 11:00, and she, an actress, was returning from a party at the home of her movement teacher at which each attendee was asked to bring a short performance piece as a gift for the host. I, a science writer, was [...]

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 »

More from Scientific American

Email this Article

X