Pluto

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.


Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Physicist Tom Krimigis designs scientific instruments for space; they’ve gone to every planet in the solar system. He’s the only person in the world with that achievement. Krimigis came to the United States from Greece at the start of the Space Age, and later led the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University. He was recently in Flagstaff for an event at Lowell Observatory and spoke with KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny about his half-century tour of the solar system.


NASA

One of the first major studies of Pluto’s geology appears in the most recent edition of the Journal of Science. It used data from the New Horizons mission to get a better picture of the dwarf planet’s surface. As Arizona Public Radio’s Justin Regan reports, the study found that so-called “volatile materials” have shaped Pluto’s landscape. 


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