Astronomy: Is Pluto a planet?

Weekend Variety Wireless 16/09/2018
Credit: Getty.

Astronomer Dr Grant Christie joins Ryan Bradley to talk the latest in astronomy news.

This week: NASA’s mission to the Asteroid Belt, Pluto rediscovered as a planet, and a typo misguides a binary star merger.

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft turned science fiction into science fact by using ion propulsion to explore the two largest bodies in the main asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres, found between Mars and Jupiter.

The mission is drawing to a close after 11 years, when the spacecraft runs out of hydrazine, which keeps it in communication with Earth.

NASA's Curiosity rover surveyed its surroundings on August 9th, producing a 360-degree panorama of its current location on Mars' Vera Rubin Ridge. 

Is Pluto a planet? Dr Christie says personally he doesn’t see any justification for calling it a planet.

But according to new research the reason Pluto lost its planet status is not valid. 

A typo has thrown off the timing for an expected binary star merger, with a predicted ‘never before seen’ merger announced to happen in 2022. 

A graduate student in the US found that predication was wrong due to an error in the data table. No new date has been provided as of yet.

Listen to the full interview with Dr Grant Christie above.

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