V774104: That’s the name of the new dwarf planet astronomers revealed this week, and it’s three times as far away from the sun as Pluto. It’s the most distant object ever discovered in our solar system—and it could mean there are even more far-flung planets in our corner of the universe just waiting to be discovered.
We once considered the Sun a planet, and it took finding Uranus to decide that moons should really be their own category of thing. These are all the places in our solar system that were once planets—but now have far more suitable names.
Stop hoping that Pluto will regain its former designation as a planet. It isn’t going to happen. But the good news is, Pluto is something much cooler than a mere planet. It’s the largest dwarf planet we know, and one half of the first binary planet system. Pluto didn’t get demoted, it got promoted.
On the 23rd and 24th of January, 1930, a young astronomer working in Flagstaff, Arizona, scanned a small patch of the night sky. He was taking pictures of star positions, looking for anomalies that would signal movement somewhere at the edge of the solar system. He took the pictures then set them aside, not realizing…
Eris is the largest dwarf planet in the Solar System, and the ninth largest body orbiting our Sun. Sometimes referred to as the “tenth planet,” its discovery is responsible for upsetting the traditional count of nine planets in our Solar System, as well as leading the way to the creation of a new astronomical category.
What happens when a planetary scientist has a love for order? He creates code that sorts everything from our solar system’s moons to exoplanets into graceful spirals where every object is slightly smaller than the one before. Astronomical knolling is my new favourite way to contemplate the vast scale of space.
When scientists first discovered the dwarf planet Eris back in 2005, they claimed that the icy body was actually larger than Pluto. But when Eris' orbit passed in front of a dim star late last year, astronomers got their first chance to take a good hard look at the dwarf planet's actual diameter. And as it turns out,…
The Kuiper Belt, the vast asteroid belt of ice and rock that lies beyond Neptune, is home to three objects big enough to be considered dwarf planets: Haumea, Makemake, and our old friend Pluto. And now, we might have found three more.
Last week saw Neptune Day, the first anniversary - in Neptune years - of the planet's discovery on September 23, 1846. That got us thinking: what are the "birthdays" for all the other planets? Here's a handy, mildly insane guide.
Pluto lost its status as a planet because of the discovery of Eris, another Kuiper Belt object that was slightly larger. But now Pluto has put Eris back in its place.
There is no doubt that science has become more like science fiction in the past decade, with amazing innovations and discoveries that increased our understanding of the universe. We list ten of the biggest science stories from the past decade.