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Pluto’s last stand

By Tom Chatfield  

Prospect readers will already know all about our increasingly populous solar-system, thanks to Stephen Eales’s account in the May issue of Pluto’s demotion from proper planet to second-rate dwarf. Today brings final confirmation of the bad news for astronomical reactionaries, as this report in Science explains. Pluto is now officially lighter than its shadowy outer neighbour, Eris (appropriately enough named after the Greek goddess of strife and discord), which at 16.6 billion trillion kilograms is no less than 27% more massive than the object previously thought to be the ninth largest in the solar system.

The image of nine planets…

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