Friday, August 25, 2006


And then there were eight...

Pluto has been relegated as the "Big 8" from a breakaway Premiership league. Pluto may appeal, citing unfavourable voting conditions as most of the attendees at end of the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) 10-day General Assembly in Prague had gone home when the vote was taken.
Pluto (2,360km) is now a "Dwarf Planet" along with Charon (it's moon, 1,200km), Ceres (asteroid between Mars and Jupiter, 1,000km) and UB313 (the so-called "10th planet" - 3000km).
Charon can be a dwarf planet and not just a moon as it is large enough to make Pluto-Charon a binary system. Although the Earth and the Moon could also be a binary system, they are not regarded as such as the point that both orbit about is within the body of the Earth due to the huge size difference. For Pluto and Charon the centre of the orbit is somewhere in space between the two bodies.
There are some other condidates for being dwarf planets with great names, such as Orcus, Easterbunny and Santa. The last two are unfortunately only provisional names, chosen from the time of year the objects were discovered, and they will eventually get permanent creation or underworld deity name.

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