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Pluto: The Magnificent And Gigantic Comet

    Pluto: The Magnificent And Gigantic Comet By Judith E Braffman-Miller Ephemeral and fragile, comets that come streaking inward towards the melting heat and light of our Star are the wandering refugees from a distant twilight region of ice. There, in our Solar System’s deep freeze, myriad comet nuclei dance around our Sun beyond the orbit of Neptune–the outermost…

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A Hidden Moon For A Distant Mini-World?

We are an inquisitive species. For all of our human flaws, one of our more admirable traits is our need to explore–to go where no one has ever gone before, to see what no one has ever seen before. This distant hum of singing Sirens perpetually haunts our dreams, tantalizing our imaginations, luring us into regions of distant, frigid darkness–far, far away. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has now left Pluto and its quintet of moons behind, and is well on its way to explore more distant regions of the “Kuiper Belt”, where a vast multitude of icy worldlets swim in a mysterious sea of everlasting twilight. In August 2015, a Kuiper Belt Object, with the lengthy name of (486958) 2014 MU69, was chosen as New Horizons’ next target of exploration–and this enchanting little world, that does its mesmerizing dance in our Solar System’s frigid Twilight Zone, is now whispering to us some of its well-kept secrets–it may have a hidden moon all its own!

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In Our Solar System’s Dark Deep Freeze, Poor Pluto Is Much Too Cold

    In Our Solar System’s Dark Deep Freeze, Poor Pluto Is Much Too Cold By Judith E Braffman-Miller In the dark, distant, and mysterious outer fringe of our Solar System, the dwarf planet Pluto dwells with a multitude of others of its frozen kind–circling our Star in a domain of everlasting twilight. Astronomers are only now first beginning to…

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Ring Around Haumea: Pluto’s Peculiar Neighbor

Ring Around Haumea: Pluto’s Peculiar Neighbor By Judith E Braffman-Miller Far from our fiery Star, and well-hidden from our view in a distant region of perpetual twilight, there lies a belt composed of icy, frozen objects. Located beyond the orbit of the deep-blue, banded, ice-giant planet, Neptune–the most distant known major planet from our Sun–this myriad of strange objects, composed…

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A Moon For A Small World

In our Solar System’s outer limits, far from the melting heat and warm, welcoming fires of our Sun, there is a mysterious swath of space situated in the frigid murkiness of a perpetual twilight. This is the Kuiper Belt, a remote region where a multitude of icy comet nuclei and other frozen objects orbit our distant Star. Here, in the deep freeze of our Solar System’s far suburbs, the ice dwarf planet Pluto and its quintet of moons do their strange distant dance along with a treasure trove of others of their frozen kind. Indeed, the Kuiper Belt is so far away that astronomers are only now first beginning to explore this shadowy region–unveiling, at last, many of its well-kept secrets. In May 2017, astronomers announced that they had uncovered yet another of this dimly lit domain’s many mysteries–there is a little frozen moon in orbit around 2007 OR10, which is the third-largest known dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt..

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