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PH1600: Introductory Astronomy
Lecture 10: Pluto, Minor Planets, and Asteroids
PH1600: Introductory Astronomy
Lecture 10: Pluto, Dwarf Planets, and
Next Lecture: Comets and Meteors
School: Michigan Technological University
Professor: Robert Nemiroff
Online Course WebCT pages:
This class can be taken online ONLY, class
attendance is not required!
You are responsible for…
Lecture material
Listed wikipedia entries
 But not higher math
APODs posted during the semester
APOD review every week during lecture
Completing the Quizzes
Homework quizzes 1 - 4 already due
Homework 5 quiz due soon
See WebCT at
Wikipedia entries:
Minor planet
Dwarf Planets
Designation created by IAU during
2006 summer
Orbit the Sun
Swept out surrounding orbit
Pluto, Ceres, Eris, Makemake,
Eight Planets and New Solar System Designations
Credit: International Astronomical Union
APOD: 2006 August 28
Our Busy Solar System
Credit & Copyright: MPC, CBAT, Harvard CfA, IAU
APOD: 2006 March 19
Pluto (Dwarf Planet)
Discovered in 1930
Large Moon: Charon
Diameter: 2/3 smaller than Earth’s Moon
Radius=1,200 km
Orbit between 30 and 50 AU
Smaller Moons: Nix & Hydra
Usually outside of Neptune
Period: 248 Earth years
Composed of rock and water ice
Thin nitrogen atmosphere
Pluto in True Color
Credit: Eliot Young (SwRI) et al., NASA
APOD: 2006 September 3
Mysterious Pluto and Charon
Credit: . W. Buie (Lowell Observatory) et al.
APOD: 2000 April 9
Nix and Hydra
Image Credit: M. Mutchler (STScI) et al., ESA, NASA
APOD: 2006 June 24
New Horizons Launches to Pluto
Image Credit & Copyright: Ben Cooper
APOD: 2006 January 24
Kepler’s Three Laws
1st Law: Planets orbits in ellipses
Sun at one focus
2nd Law: Planets sweep out equal
areas in equal times
3rd Law: Orbit: Period2 ~ Radius3/M
Ceres: Asteroid or Planet?
Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Parker (SwRI) et al.
APOD: 2006 August 21
Small Worlds Ceres and Vesta
Credit : NASA, ESA, L.McFadden at al.
APOD: 2007 June 22
Eris: The Largest Known Dwarf Planet
Credit & Copyright: W. M. Keck Observatory
APOD: 2006 September 18
Makemake of the Outer Solar System Credit:
R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech),
JPL-Caltech, NASA
APOD: 2008 July 16
Haumea of the Outer Solar System
Illustration Credit: NASA
APOD: 2008 September 23
Red = Pluto
Green= Haumea
Blue = Makemake
Quaoar: Large Asteroid in the Outer Solar System
Credit: Chad Trujillo & Michael Brown (Caltech)
APOD: 2002 October 9
All over our Solar System
Unlike comets, show no tail or coma
Most in main asteroid belt
Also called Minor Planets
Apollo: Earth-orbit crossing
Near Earth Objects (NEOs)
Kuiper belt objects
Also called Trans-Neptunian Objects
Pluto & Charon
Other dwarf planets & minor planets
Surely more out there
Ida and Dactyl: Asteroid and Moon
Credit: Galileo Project, JPL, NASA
APOD: 2004 June 19
Asteroid Gaspra's Best Face
Credit: The Galileo Project, NASA
APOD: 1998 July 12
NEAR Mathilde
Credit: NEAR Spacecraft Team, JHUAPL, NASA
APOD: 1997 June 30
Flying Over Asteroid Eros
Credit: NEAR Shoemaker Project, JHU APL, NASA
APOD: 2000 March 27
The Regolith of Asteroid Eros
Credit: NEAR Project, JHU APL, NASA
APOD: 2002 March 3
NEAR Spacecraft Survives Landing on Asteroid Eros
Credit: NEAR Project, JHU APL, NASA
APOD: 2001 February 13
Deep Impact Spacecraft Hurtles Toward Comet
Drawing Credit: Pat Rawlings, U. Md., JPL, NASA
APOD: 2005 May 16
Credit: Univ. Maryland, JPL-Caltech, NASA
APOD: 2005 July 5
The Landscape on Comet Tempel 1
Credit: Univ. Maryland, JPL-Caltech, NASA
APOD: 2005 July 6
Smooth Sections on Asteroid Itokawa
Credit & Copyright: ISAS, JAXA
APOD: 2005 December 28
Rosetta Spacecraft Passes Asteroid Steins
Credit & Copyright: Rosetta Team, ESA
APOD: 2008 September 8
Asteroid 3753: Earth's Curious Companion
Credit & Copyright: P. Weigert (York U.) et al.
APOD: 1997 June 18
Asteroids in the Distance
Credit: R. Evans & K. Stapelfeldt (JPL), WFPC2, HST, NASA
APOD: 2005 April 17
Animation of Asteroids Passing Near Earth
Credit: MPC, Harvard-Smithsonian CfA, IAU
APOD: 2006 March 28
Space Rock SQ222 Noticed After Pass
Credit & Copyright: LONEOS, Lowell Observatory
APOD: 2003 October 15
The Missing Craters of Asteroid Itokawa
Credit & Copyright: ISAS, JAXA
APOD: 2005 November 21