Feeds

Pluto demoted again

Not even biggest dwarf planet

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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".

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.