Wednesday, June 11, 2008

'Plutoid' Chosen As Name For Dwarf Planets Like Pluto

Almost two years after the International Astronomical Union (IAU) General Assembly introduced the category of dwarf planets,The IAU has decided on the term plutoid as a name for dwarf planets like Pluto. This category is for solar system objects called trans-neptunian which are celestial bodies in orbit around the Sun at a distance greater than that of Neptune that have sufficient mass for their self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that they assume a hydrostatic equilibrium (near-spherical) shape, and that have not cleared the neighbourhood around their orbit. The two known and named plutoids are Pluto and Eris. The dwarf planet Ceres is not a plutoid as it is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

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