First photographed two years ago, but announced Friday, three astronomers have discovered a body larger than Pluto orbiting about nine billion miles away.
The artist’s depiction is just to the left here.
Is it a planet? This will reignite the debate. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) ruled several years that Pluto remains a planet in their consideration. This, despite the fact that Pluto is only about 700 miles across, a third of the moon’s diamater.
My sense is that other bodies larger than Pluto will eventually be discovered. Instead of adding these to the list of planets, I suspect that eventually Pluto will be retired from the list of major planets. That doesn’t diminish the importance of Pluto or these other “near-planets.” The Hubble Space Telescope has been able to image Pluto and its moon. Here’s its best shot:
Amazingly enough, astronomers have actually been able to deduce a rough map of Pluto, seen here:
Nice place. If you like your atmospheric gases as constituents of a sno-cone. But if you ask me, it’s not a planet. Not quite. Sorry, Clyde.