by Staff Writers
Nantes, France (UPI) Oct 13, 2011
The dwarf planet Eris, responsible for Pluto's demotion from planet status in 2006, is not bigger than Pluto and may even be smaller, French scientists say.
When Eris was discovered in 2005, Hubble Space Telescope images suggested its diameter was about 1,500 miles, about 5 percent bigger than that of Pluto.
Astronomers got a chance last November to refine the measurements when Eris passed directly in front of a distant star, NewScientist.com reported.
Bruno Sicardy of the Paris Observatory and colleagues took measurements from two different sites in Chile, and found Eris' diameter is 1,400 miles, almost exactly the same as the best measurements suggest is true of Pluto.
"It could be smaller, it could be larger; basically, it is a twin," Sicardy said Oct. 4 at a Division of Planetary Sciences meeting in Nantes, France.
Eris remains the heavyweight of the dwarf planets, however, with much more mass than Pluto, he said.
The million outer planets of a star called Sol
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Series of bumps sent Uranus into its sideways spin
Nantes, France (SPX) Oct 12, 2011
Uranus's highly tilted axis makes it something of an oddball in our Solar System. The accepted wisdom is that Uranus was knocked on its side by a single large impact, but new research to be presented at the EPSC-DPS Joint Meeting in Nantes rewrites our theories of how Uranus became so tilted and also solves fresh mysteries about the position and orbits of its moons. By using simulations of ... read more
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