Pluto demoted again
Not even biggest dwarf planet
Pluto has suffered a further humiliation following its 2006 ejection from the league of planets - official demotion to "second biggest dwarf planet" status.
The bad news is that Pluto is actually smaller than recently-discovered Eris, Reuters reports. More exactly, Eris is 27 per cent more massive than the former planet, according to calculations by Michael Brown and Emily Schaller of the California Institute of Technology.
The pair used data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory in Hawaii to deliver this second blow to the lonely distant body. Although scientists had already determined that Eris's diameter (1,500 miles) exceeded that of Pluto (1,400 miles), they hadn't determined its mass.
Perhaps significantly, Brown "helped provoke the demotion" of Pluto, although he denied the latest findings were part of a campaign to discredit the US-discovered body. He told Reuters: "I don't think we're picking on Pluto. It's just the truth. It [Eris] just is more massive than Pluto. It's just the way it is."
Eris is appropriately named after an ancient Greek goddess of strife and discord. It's probably composed of rock and ice, as is Pluto, and follows a similar ellipical orbit round the sun.
Eris's slog around the solar system takes 560 years and carries it "anywhere from 3.5 billion miles to 10 billion miles from Earth", Brown said. Pluto does the same trip in a mere 250 years, and travels no further than five billion miles from our home planet, occasionally passing inside the orbit of Neptune. ®
We here at Vulture Central are starting to feel a bit sorry for Pluto, and have accordingly named it El Reg's "Most favourite non-descript orbiting object".
change happens ... get over it.
if science didn't change it's teachings according to evidence and reason we would be no better than all the pig-ignorant religious fundamentalist morons running around out there killing each other because their parents had the gall to indoctrinate them with the 'certain' knowledge that paragraph A of religious book B is absolutely true and that anyone who believes in paragraph C of religious book D (or even book B!) is true deserves to die..
i know this particular issue is not very important but editing ANY knowledge for the sake of convenience is the thin end of the wedge that will tear us apart.
And not a finer use in the land
Does anyone of true import really give a rats ass?
Am I the only one in the world that thinks that the folks that make all these types of decisions have way too much time on their hands?
It is a planet!
no it's not a planet!
As Tyra Banks would say " SO WHAT?"
is it headed for collision with earth?
Are we trying to inhabit it?
Is someone selling real estate out there?
Unles the answer to all the above queries is a resounding yes can we get on with the important things is life ? Like the price of petrol and or a pint of stout?
Somebody needs to tell those overstressed planet sizing geeks there are more important things in life that detedrmining the size of a peble in outer space!