Pluto! Pluto! For a planet that we have kicked out of the club, it seems that we do have a lot of fascination for it! The studies of the distant world continue, as information about it is being brought forth that is making it seem more fascinating than most of the other worlds in our solar system.
Right now, yet another moon has been located in orbit of Pluto! That brings the total number of natural satellites around the distant world to five. FIVE! The ex-planet, and it’s long-known moon, Charon (pronounced Karon) have been recognized together since 1978. During 2005, the moons Hydra and Nix were discovered by the use of the powerful Hubble Space Telescope. Then, 2011 brought the announcement that a fourth moon orbited Pluto, which maintains the label of S/2011 (134340) 1, and is temporarily designated as P4. Not to be concluded, July 2o12 revealed that Pluto held even more, with S/2012 (134340) 1, also called P5, found around the ex-planet!
Well. despite no longer being an official planetary resident of our solar system (as designated by Earthlings…), Pluto’s moons still will receive Earth-designated names! It seems that S.E.T.I. has conducted a research poll to get a gathering for the selection of name choices for the nameless moons of Pluto. S.E.T.I. put forth a Pluto Rocks Poll, where the names Cerberus and Vulcan emerging as the winners of the names for the newly-observed natural satellites.
The Pluto Rocks Poll was conducted in conjuction with celebrity-actor William Shatner of Star Trek fame. A total of 450,324 votes were tallied to place the name of Vulcan as one of the newly-observed moons of Pluto. Then, almost 100,000 votes were counted to give the name of Cerberus to the the additionally-located Plutonian satellite. Cerberus is the three-headed hound of Hell in Roman mythological lore, while Vulcan is the god of fire in Roman mythology, and the home of Mr. Spock in the world of Star Trek!
So, Pluto is packing five moons! It is NOT an official planet of our solar system, so says the Earthling! It is a dwarf planet, meaning it is within it’s orbital path around The Sun along with objects of seemingly similar size. It’s primary moon Charon orbits The Sun along with Pluto in synch with each other, meaning they face each other constantly as they travel around our star. Pluto is at the edge of, or within The Kuiper Belt, which is the area at the edge of our solar system where comets, and other icy objects are created.
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There is some adage that says something about not having to look too far for something when it actually is right in your face! That just may be the case, this time, while we are in the midst of our search for exoplanets that are even remotely akin to our Earth. The search seems to have elevated a bit in exitement, as one world could have some actual similarities to our own, and it is right around the corner!
Researchers working with N.A.S.A., and using The Kepler Space Telescope, announced that an exoplanet that is similar to Earth is merely 13 light years away from our world. The speculation is that the planet will be in orbit of a red dwarf star, which is a slightly dimmer and slighlty smaller type of star than our yellow-dwarf Sun. Red dwarves are supposed to be the majority amount of stars within our Milky Way Galaxy. There are alleged to be at least 75 billion red dwarf stars in The Milky Way. Current studies are suggesting that six percent of these stars host potentially habitable worlds.
Currently, it is The Kepler Space Telescope that is being used to locate the vast majority of exoplanets. This eye to the skies has viewed over 15,000 stars for possible locations of planets, monitoring the sizes and consistencies of objects moving in transit around the many glowing orbs of our galaxy. Regarding this recently discovered world, it is in orbit of a type of star in which The Kepler Space Telescope has discovered 95 alien planets.
Red dwarf stars comprise a supposed seventy-five percent of the estimated 100 billion stars within our galaxy. We take those numbers to figure that there should be roughly 4.5 billion “alien Earths” spread throughout The Milky Way. Certainly, that is a fascinating speculation, to suggest that number of planets out there within just this one galaxy could be homes to other forms of life! One researcher, Courtney Dresssing of The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, states that current information that we have will be used to locate a planet similar to Earth “within thirteen light-years”!
Keeping in mind, the closest world outside of our solar system is Epsilon Eridani b. This planet is a gas giant, akin to Jupiter. At 10.5 light years away from us, Epsilon Eridani b was discovered in 2000 through the use of The Hubble Space Telescope. It’s star, Epsilon Eridani, is an orange dwarf with a surface temperature based at roughly 5,000° Kelvin.
Of course, the continued excitement will come with additional studies of this world. More research certainly will come as more data is received from satellite images, and as scientists use the information to recognize the facts about what is being discovered within these human-pristine areas of the universe. Hopefully, sooner than later, this current information, in addition to upcoming details, will lead to exciting and new revelations about what we were never even expecting to find out!
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Speaking of The Block!!!
Having survived the scare of 2012, the fascination of wandering space chunks does continue! More recent updates are presented that give details about other objects that will present displays to Planet Earth. A recent report relays information on a comet travelling inward from the edges of the solar system, likely to be a sight to see later this year!
Comet C/20012 S1, also called Comet ISON, is being eyed currently, mostly with curiousity and intrigue. This one is not going to pose any threat to the planet, yet it is expected to be a sight that will rival anything that will be seen for over one hundred years. This comet is supposed to illuminate the night skies with such intensity that scientists already are planning to label it as a “comet of the century”!
The comet will fly past The Sun around November 28. It is supposed to pass at a distance of 800,000 miles from the surface of our star. Supposedly, it could survive the incredible heat, and the possible coronal mass ejections, so it will continue on a journey back into the solar system. The power of The Sun’s heat will cause more dust and gas to be released from Comet ISON, allowing it to have an exceptionally lengthy and luminous tail as it approaches Earth on it’s outward journey.
Scientists with N.A.S.A. have been studying Comet ISON, though it was discovered by Russian astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok. These scientists worked with The International Scientific Optical Network at Kislovodsk, Russia. There, the team of scientists have been studying Comet ISON as it has passed through the outer regions of our solar system, including the intrigues of The Oort Cloud.
Comet ISON will pass nearest to Earth on December 26, 2013. At that point, the comet will be at a distance of 40 million miles from our world. Certified scientists are stating that this comet is NOT a threat to us, and it is NOT going to strike the planet! There is no need to fear…..
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