Feeds

Pluto demoted again

Not even biggest dwarf planet

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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".

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
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.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.