Good news! Three space telescopes, including Hubble, have combined their celestial powers to spot a moon orbiting a dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt —the region beyond Neptune where Pluto and countless other icy bodies live. According to NASA, the dwarf planet’s moon has lots to teach scientists about how moons formed…
When we think of dwarf planets, the first thing that comes to mind is obviously the injustice of Pluto getting demoted to one. But the truth is, these little guys—and there are six currently recognized within our solar system—deserve just as much love as their mightier planetary cousins. Good news for them: a new…
The Dawn Spacecraft is still orbiting Ceres and sending back some fantastic images. The latest are images taken of the dwarf planet’s north and south poles.
The tallest mountain on Ceres is a split-toned creature that would be at home in Alaska. Explore it, and the still-mysterious white spots in Occator Crater in the latest flyover animation of the dwarf planet.
The mysterious white spots on Ceres have stepped up their game: from certain angles at certain times of day, they apparently produce a haze that partially covers their crater. If the observations are confirmed, it suggests the odd markings are ice directly sublimating into crater-filling haze.
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…
It turns out there's no air up there: the distant dwarf planet Makemake is surprisingly lacking in an atmosphere, according to findings made by astronomers using telescopes at ESO's La Silla and Paranal observatories.
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,…
One ticket to Pluto, please! Seems there's an ocean there just waiting to be discovered, surfed or lounged about. Don't worry about my well-being though—I'll be packing a sweater.
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.
Vesta is the asteroid belt's second largest object, but figuring out what it is has driven astronomers crazy. Is it an asteroid? A planet, perhaps a protoplanet? Whatever the answer, Vesta might just be the solar system's most important object.
There were many reasons why Pluto got demoted to dwarf planet status, one of which was that it couldn't clear its orbit of asteroids and other debris. But Earth's orbit is also crowded...too crowded for Earth to be a planet?
For those still distraught about Pluto's demotion from full-fledged planet to dwarf, the battle is not over. The former planet has made some powerful allies who believe their discoveries will convince astronomers to bring Pluto back into the planetary fold.