Category Archives: Planets

Kepler-1625b I: The First Exomoon…Maybe

So, the big science news of the day is the potential discovery of the first known “exomoon”—that is, a moon orbiting an extrasolar planet. (Scientific paper here.) Scientists have been looking for such moons for years, only to turn up … Continue reading

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Planet 9: A New Planet in Our Solar System?

“In my day, Pluto was a Planet!” said everyone over the age of…15 or so. Pluto was demoted from planet status ten years ago (a decision I do agree with–see here), and now we only have eight planets–or do we? … Continue reading

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Planet or Not? How About “Planetoid”?

I’ve argued that Pluto shouldn’t be a planet, and I’ve also argued that we don’t know enough to rigorously define the word “planet”. Now, I want to take a closer look at how and why we divide our own Solar … Continue reading

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How to “Define” the Word “Planet”

So the IAU has declared that Pluto is not a planet. I agree with this assessment, but I also think that the IAU’s definition is poorly written. So how should that word “planet” actually be defined? It’s not simple.

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Why Pluto Really Shouldn’t be a Planet

(But the IAU is Wrong, Too.) In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) voted that Pluto was not a planet, just months after the New Horizons spacecraft was launched with a mission to…visit the last planet that had never been … Continue reading

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NASA Discovers the First “Earth-Like” Planet for the Third Time

There’s been buzz in the news about the latest planet discovered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, Kepler-452b. It’s being hailed as a major discovery. It’s the first ever Earth-sized planet found in the habitable zone of a…boy, this sounds familiar, … Continue reading

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NASA finds an ice-cold planet right next door

You may have heard about the recent discovery of an ice cold “brown dwarf” or “star” right next door in our Solar Neighborhood. The object, which goes by the telephone number* WISE J085510.83-071442.5, is only 7.2 light-years from our Solar … Continue reading

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