I am a planet, insists Pluto

2014-05-28 10:15
A plan to build an optical telescope much bigger than Salt has cleared an important hurdle. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

A plan to build an optical telescope much bigger than Salt has cleared an important hurdle. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Pluto is making its case to be re-admitted to the family of planets that orbit the solar system.

The planetoid was demoted from full planet status in 2006 when astronomers voted that it be classed as an object in the Kuiper Belt.

However, according to report on the Scientific American, the Hubble Space Telescope has identified five moons orbiting Pluto as well as an atmosphere composed of methane.

The Kuiper Belt is a region on the fringes of the solar system composed of thousands of objects that have a diameter of around 100km.

Eris, another KBO (Kuiper Belt Object), was thought to be larger than Pluto, but new research suggests that this may have been flawed.

Eirs is estimated at 2 326km in diameter, while Pluto's size has been upped to 2 367km, thanks to its atmosphere.

Nasa launched its New Horizons Pluto-Kuiper Belt Mission in 2006 and the satellite will fly past Pluto in 2015 and it is expected to take a number of pictures that should give astronomers a better view of the body.
Read more on:    nasa  |  astronomy

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