Feedback | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.

Letters to the Editor


3:30pm, May 30, 2014

Planetary identity crisis

Astronomers spotted icy rings encircling the planetoid Chariklo, a 250-kilometer-wide hunk of ice and rock that orbits the sun between Saturn and Uranus. In “Icy rings found around tiny space rock” (SN: 5/3/14, p. 10), Christopher Crockett added that Chariklo may also have unseen orbiting moons keeping the rings in place.

These characteristics make Chariklo sound awfully planetlike, as some readers pointed out. “This ‘planetoid’ has its own orbit around the sun, so what criterion does it fail, preventing it from being called a ‘planet’?” asked online commenter Anthony Giarratano.



This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content