Mar 19, 2014 I Paul Seaburn

Pluto Is Back!

Fans of the d-d-dwarf planet (yes, it’s still hard to say) Pluto can rejoice at the news of a small victory for the formerly ninth planet of our solar system.

In 2006, the International Astronomical Union issued its new definition of a planet and Pluto failed the third test – “clearing the neighborhood around its orbit” by becoming the dominant gravitational force in the area. After being reclassified as a d-d-dwarf planet, Pluto suffered the further indignity of being designated the second-largest of these behind the newly-discovered tenth planet wannabe, Eris.

Pluto supporters did not give up. In 2010, measurements taken during a stellar occultation showed Eris has a diameter of 2,326 km, much closer to the size of Pluto than first thought. Now, a report in the latest edition of the journal Icarus reveals that methane gas analysis of Pluto puts its diameter at 2368 km, moving it ahead of Eris as the largest d-d-dwarf planet and returning champion of the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt.


Eris supporters (all three of you) point out that the size battle with Pluto won’t be settled until July 2015, when the New Horizons spacecraft of NASA’s Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission passes Pluto and takes an accurate measurement.

new horizons 570x447
Artist's depiction of the New Horizons spacecraft

In the meantime, let’s all say it together: Pluto rocks!

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

Join MU Plus+ and get exclusive shows and extensions & much more! Subscribe Today!