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2024-06-01 12:37:01

Top 10 Dwarf Planets: The Last One Will Leave You Speechless

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Top 10 Dwarf Planets: The Last One Will Leave You Speechless

Are all round celestial bodies in our solar system considered planets? Not exactly. Dwarf planets are a classification of celestial bodies that are not large enough to be considered full-fledged planets. Unlike the eight planets in our solar system, dwarf planets have unique characteristics that differentiate them. In this blog, we will explore what makes dwarf planets different and delve deeper into five of the main dwarf planets in our solar system - Ceres, Makemake, Haumea, Eris, and Pluto. Source: Cosmic Voyager.

Dwarf planets are celestial bodies that share characteristics with both planets and asteroids. These small celestial bodies orbit the sun, just like regular planets. However, they have not cleared their orbits of debris like regular planets have, meaning that there are other objects in their orbital paths. An orbit of debris refers to a region in space where there are many smaller objects, like rocks, dust, and ice, that are orbiting around a larger object. In the case of a regular planet like Earth, its gravity is strong enough to clear out this debris and keep its orbit relatively clean. But for dwarf planets, their gravity is not strong enough to clear out all of the debris, so there are still many smaller objects orbiting around them. This is one of the criteria used to differentiate between dwarf and regular planets. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) created the new classification of dwarf planets in 2006, which included Pluto and several other bodies in our solar system. While the term "dwarf planet" may have only been officially introduced in 2006, the concept has been around for much longer. It has been necessary to differentiate these objects from traditional planets because they don't meet all the criteria for planetary status.

1. Pluto

Pluto, Pronounced "polo-toh," this tiny celestial body may have been downgraded from its planetary status in 2006, but it still holds a special place in our hearts.

Discovered in 1930, Pluto was once hailed as the ninth planet in our solar system. But in 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) decided to shake things up and reclassify Pluto as a dwarf planet. Why, you ask? Pluto is on the smaller end of the planetary scale, and it hasn't quite cleared its orbit of debris like the eight true planets in our solar system have. So, while it may not be a full-fledged planet anymore, it's still a fascinating object to study.

Let's talk about Pluto's location. Pluto is located in the Kuiper belt, a region of our solar system beyond Neptune's orbit that is teeming with icy objects. Pluto's surface is rocky and covered in nitrogen and methane ice, giving it a unique and otherworldly appearance. And get this, Pluto has not one, not two, but FIVE known moons! The largest of these is Charon, so massive that some scientists even refer to Pluto and Charon as a binary system.

But here's where things get interesting. In 2015, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto and provided us with the first up-close images of this tiny world. And let me tell you, they did not disappoint. We're talking towering mountains of ice, vast plains of frozen nitrogen, and even a heart-shaped feature on Pluto's surface. It's like something straight out of a sci-fi movie!

So, while Pluto may no longer be considered a planet, it's still a star in our eyes. Its unique location, composition, and history make it a fascinating subject of study for scientists and space enthusiasts alike. Who knows what other secrets this little guy is hiding? One thing's for sure, though - Pluto may be small, but it's mighty.

2. Ceres

Ceres, the first dwarf planet discovered, is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Its pronunciation is 'seer-eez'. In 2006, it was reclassified from an asteroid to a dwarf planet due to its spherical shape and its ability to have cleared its orbit of debris. Ceres is unique as it is the only dwarf planet located in the inner solar system. It has a rocky surface and is believed to have a mantle of ice beneath its crust. Ceres also has a thin atmosphere and several small moons orbiting it, making it a fascinating celestial body to study.

3. Makemake

Makemake, pronounced 'mah-keh mah-keh', was discovered in 2005 and is located in the Kuiper belt, beyond the orbit of Neptune. It was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2008, as it is spherical and has cleared its orbit of debris. Makemake is unique as it is one of the few dwarf planets without any known moons. Its surface is composed of methane, ethane, and nitrogen ice, and it is one of the largest known objects in the Kuiper belt.

4. Haumea

Haumea, pronounced 'how-may-ah,' was discovered in 2004 and is located beyond the orbit of Neptune in the Kuiper belt. It was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2008, as it is spherical and has cleared its orbit of debris. Haumea is unique as it is the fastest-rotating dwarf planet, completing one rotation every four hours. It has a unique elongated shape, thought to have been caused by a massive impact. Haumea also has two small moons, Hi'iaka and Namaka.

5 . Eris

Eris, pronounced 'eer-is,' is located in the Kuiper belt and was discovered in 2005. Its reclassification as a dwarf planet in 2006 was controversial, as it was initially thought to be larger than Pluto. Eris is unique as it has a highly elliptical orbit and is one of the most massive known dwarf planets. Its surface is composed of frozen methane and nitrogen. Eris also has a small moon, Dysnomia, which was discovered in 2005.

Dwarf planets may be smaller and less well-known than their planetary counterparts, but they are no less fascinating. The five main dwarf planets have unique characteristics and histories that make them worthy of study and exploration.

As our knowledge of the universe continues to expand, we will undoubtedly discover more dwarf planets and learn more about the ones we already know about. And who knows, maybe one day we'll even find signs of life on one of these tiny worlds.

In the meantime, we can continue to marvel at the incredible diversity of objects in our solar system and beyond. From the gas giants to the icy Kuiper belt objects, there is no shortage of wonders to behold. So keep your eyes on the skies and your mind open to the possibilities - who knows what secrets the universe still has in store for us?

Bd pratidin English/Lutful Hoque

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