Kirby Runyon wants to make one thing clear: regardless of what one prestigious scientific organization says to the contrary, Pluto is a planet. So, he says, is Europa, commonly known as a moon of Jupiter, and so is the Earth's moon, and so are more than 100 other celestial bodies in our solar system that are denied this status under the prevailing definition of 'planet.'
The New Horizons flyby of Pluto and its satellites returned a scientific treasure trove of information about these distant and surprisingly complex worlds, showing a vast nitrogen glacier as well as ice mountains, canyons, cliffs, craters and more. Now the categories for official names have been approved and the name proposals can be submitted by the New Horizons team.
A new study provides additional insight into relationship between Pluto and its moon, Charon, and how it affects the continuous stripping of Pluto's atmosphere by solar wind. When Charon is positioned between the sun and Pluto, the research indicates that the moon can significantly reduce atmospheric loss.
Using a model similar to what meteorologists use to forecast weather on Earth and a computer simulation of the physics of evaporating ices, a new study has found evidence that snow and ice features previously only seen on Earth, have been spotted on Pluto.