Pluto

Melissa Sevigny

Two new books chronicle Flagstaff’s long history with everybody’s favorite dwarf planet, Pluto. It was discovered at Lowell Observatory in 1930 and it’s been the toast of the town ever since. Local scientists have been involved with nearly every major Pluto discovery, including the recent flyby by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny brought the authors of the new books into the studio to have a conversation about why they think little Pluto is a big deal for Flagstaff.

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

A year from today, NASA scientists will have a chance to explore a small space rock in the outer solar system. It will be the most distant object ever visited by a spacecraft. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.


Molly Baker

A decade ago Flagstaff suffered a blow when Pluto was “demoted” to a dwarf planet. It was discovered at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff in 1930 and is a source of pride for the city. But astronomers voted on the definition of a planet and Pluto didn’t make the cut. Now, planetary scientists say that definition is both overly complicated and incomplete.  They’ve suggested a different one. Melissa Sevigny from the Arizona Science Desk spoke with two Lowell scientists about the definition, Will Grundy and Gerard van Belle.   


Caltech/R.Hunt(IPAC)

The public can now join the hunt for the elusive Planet Nine, a massive planet astronomers believe might be hidden beyond Neptune.

NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Pluto’s largest moon Charon has a dark red splotch on its north pole. In a new study published in the journal Nature, a planetary scientist at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff explains why.


Pages