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18-05-2005

Pluto de-classified as a planet

No, Not The Cartoon Dog

Poor old Pluto. Once a top dog (in planetary terms) it turned out that it wasn’t really a planet at all and there was plenty of stuff much bigger than it floating about in the solar system. So it got relegated from ‘actual planet’ (sort of like the Champion’s League) to the more modestly titled ’dwarf planet’ (The Conference). But, despite the downgrading, Pluto still had a few surprises up its ice and rock bound sleeve.

And it was on or around this day in 2005 that the Hubble Space Telescope probed Pluto a little more intimately and found two new moons: Nix and Hydra.These two orbited alongside the original moon, Charon, and was later joined by yet more moons, Kerberos and Styx. That’s right, Pluto has five moons, compared to our own pathetic planet’s one. So certainly Pluto may be far away, uninhabitable, full of methane and not even a planet at all, but in the natural satellite stakes at least, it is completely kicking our ass.