Feeds

Pluto demoted again

Not even biggest dwarf planet

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Bootnote

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".

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.