Our solar system is a huge place, it’s true edge stretches far beyond the Kuiper belt. Maybe, you are familiar with Pluto, the demoted planet and the most famous dwarf planet within the Kuiper belt, but there are too many objects beyond it; actually, there are dwarf planets larger than Pluto residing there.
Think Pluto is far away? Think again! Researchers have just discovered an icy world — designated V774104 — a ‘Mini-Pluto’ which is about 103 times farther away from the sun than Earth. V774104 is three times farther away than Pluto is, a new record for the most distant object ever seen in the solar system.
Earlier, only four entities in our solar system were known to possess rings; all of them are planets. Saturn is obviously the most prominent name in the list; it is joined by three other planets Neptune, Uranus and Jupiter, each of which has rings made up of dust and gas encircling them.
Two hundred and fourteen years ago, on Jan. 1 1801, the discovery of a faint celestial body set the stage for one of the biggest arguments in astronomy — planetary classification. Ceres, an asteroid the size of Texas, was known as the solar system’s largest rock for nearly two centuries. Until 2006, when a debate on the planetary status of Pluto called for a reclassification of Ceres to dwarf planet status.
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has the protoplanet Ceres in its sight, and soon will have a close encounter with this unusual alien world. Still, before Dawn get’s there, it may help to answer some questions such as “what exactly is Ceres?”
While looking up information about the recently discovered Tamu Massif in the Pacific Ocean, I was surprised to learn that Olympus Mons is not the tallest Mountain in the solar system. I was even more surprised to learn that the mountain was not even located on a planet.
Discovered on March 31, 2005 by Michael Brown and his team at the Palomar Observatory, the dwarf planet, Makemake, is the third largest dwarf planet in the solar system (perhaps the largest Kuiper belt object -wikipedia), with a diameter that is about 2/3 the size of Pluto.
In January 2005, Mike Brown announced the discovery of another object from the Kuiper belt, even larger than Pluto. This dwarf planet (plutoid) provisionally named 2003 UB313 or Xena, was recently officially called, Eris.