Tag Archives: Dwarf planets

The Overlapping Orbits Of The Trans-Neptunian Dwarf Planets

by Anura Guruge

When it was still thought of as a planet, one of the many things that set Pluto apart from the other eight planets was that it cut across the orbital path of a neighbor, viz. Neptune. The others had well separated orbits that never strayed into the paths of others.

Whereas Pluto was the exception when it came the planets, it was in good company among the dwarf planets, especially the trans-Neptunian plutoids. All four of of them have orbits that duck-and-weave through each other. Here is a rough sketch of the orbital paths of Pluto, Haumea and Makemake showing the overlaps.

 

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Images of Vesta from the Dawn Spacecraft Mission to Ceres

One of the new images of Vesta from Dawn, July 2011

by Anura Guruge

Vesta, an asteroid, which like Ceres (another former asteroid), was considered a planet in the early 19th century is not a dwarf planet as such. But, it, of similar size to Ceres, is on the list of dwarf planet candidates.

The NASA space mission Dawn, on its way to Ceres, is spending a full-year around Vesta studying it at a level of detail that has never been afforded an asteroid in the past. Amazing images and videos are getting beamed back to NASA from Dawn.

Here is a slide show of some of the Vesta images compiled by AP — but remember these are NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) images and as such are public domain material.

You can find a NASA Vesta full-rotation video here.

Also just go to www.nasa.gov and search on Vesta.

I have a lot of material on Vesta, Ceres and the Dawm mission, with a flight path diagram, in my ‘Dwarf Planet’ book.


New Book On Dwarf Planets (By Anura Guruge) Now Available On Amazon

by Anura Guruge

This is a full-color, heavily illustrated 108 page (7″ x 10″) book meant to be a guide book for pre- and early teens, as well as their parents and teachers, on dwarf planets — the new category of celestial objects in our Solar System which now includes Pluto. It is now available from Amazon for $16.99 (with possibility of free super saver shipping).

Dwarf planet book by Anura Guruge

Dwarf planet book by Anura Guruge

This is the Table of Contents: