NEWS: Is Pluto a binary planet? Depends on who you talk to. We now know Pluto has a whole bunch of moons, and then there’s Charon. First observed in 1978. Charon doesn’t orbit around Pluto. They orbit around each other! In my book that makes it a binary planet.
It must be noted that the IAU (International Astronomical Union) didn’t approve of Charon’s upstart ambitions and dumbed it down to just another of Pluto’s moons. This is the same IAU who, in 2006 decided Pluto was just another lump of rock in the Kuiper Belt and downgraded it from Sol’s 9th planet to a dwarf planet.
Charon the ‘moon’, is not to be confused with Chiron, the minor planet/asteroid orbiting between Saturn and Uranus, first observed in 1977 and subsequently reclassified as a comet – but also officially called a minor planet.
Still with me?
Thankfully, all those chunks of rock, and other awesome sounding cosmic stuff, don’t give a tinkers cuss what the hominidae on the third chunk of rock from the sun think.
“All stories interest me, and some haunt me until I end up writing them. Certain themes keep coming up: justice, loyalty, violence, death, political and social issues, freedom” – Isabel Allende, writer