The Demotion of Pluto and Its Fifth Moon

July 15, 2012

Pluto, the smallest of planets in our solar system, was demoted to dwarf planet status in August 2006 when the astronomy community redfined what it means to even be a planet. Since then I’ve developed a particular fondness for Pluto, perhaps because I typically root for the underdog with an overarching empathy usually reserved for animals and small children.

And now Pluto is back in the news [in German], triumphant and with an admirable constancy that inspires. The Hubble telescope discovered that Pluto has a fifth moon that is between 10 and 25 kilometers wide.

The news made me smile. That lovely demoted celestial body flying through space with its expansive posse in tow. And by the way, the Earth only has one moon. So take that!

Can you tell I once wanted to be an astronomer?

Take the Pluto quiz. [in English] How well do you know it?


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