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New Gene Fights Potato Blight
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Moss Echoes of Hunting
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When frog gender flips
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2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
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Earth
Drilling Deep for Fuel
Pollution at the ends of the Earth
Earth Rocks On
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Plastic Meals for Seals
City Trees Beat Country Trees
The Birds are Falling
Finding the Past
Preserving Ancient Warrior Paint
Decoding a Beverage Jar
The Puzzle of Ancient Mariners
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Turning to Sweets, Fats to Calm the Brain
How Super Are Superfruits?
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2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
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GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
Detecting True Art
Human Body
Opening a Channel for Tasting Salt
Cell Phones and Possible Health Hazards
Spitting Up Blobs to Get Around
Invertebrates
Krill
Tapeworms
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Mammals
Moles
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Parents
How children learn
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Physics
The Particle Zoo
Powering Ball Lightning
Echoes of a Stretched Egg
Plants
City Trees Beat Country Trees
Getting the dirt on carbon
When Fungi and Algae Marry
Reptiles
Snapping Turtles
Tortoises
Crocodilians
Space and Astronomy
Galaxies Divide Sharply Along Color Lines
A Planet's Slim-Fast Plan
A Galaxy Far, Far, Far Away
Technology and Engineering
Supersuits for Superheroes
Bionic Bacteria
Roll-Up Computer Monitors to Go
The Parts of Speech
What is a Noun
Adjectives and Adverbs
Problems with Prepositions
Transportation
Robots on the Road, Again
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Middle school science adventures
Weather
Warmest Year on Record
A Dire Shortage of Water
Watering the Air
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Pluto's New Moons

The first time that you learn about the planets, it all seems so simple. There are nine of them, including Earth. All orbit the sun. Then, you learn about moons, and things get a little more complicated. Moons orbit planets. We have one. Saturn has more than 45. As soon as you've memorized the planet lessons in your textbook, however, you've got more work to do. The Hubble Space Telescope has just spotted two more moons around Pluto, adding to the one we already knew about. If the finding is true, astronomers will have to rethink what they know about the planet and about the Kuiper belt—a collection of small, icy objects that lingers way out on the edge of our solar system. Until now, scientists had supposed that Pluto had just one moon, called Charon. This object follows an orbit 19,600 kilometers (12,200 miles) from the planet and measures 1,270 kilometers (790 miles) across. Charon is about half as wide as Pluto. The new moons have been named S/2005 P1 and S/2005 P2. The first one lies about 48,000 kilometers (30,000 miles) from Pluto and has an estimated diameter of 56 kilometers (35 miles). The second lies about 64,000 kilometers (39,800 miles) from Pluto and has a diameter of about 48 kilometers (30 miles). For every 12 times that Charon goes around Pluto, it looks like S/2005 P1 goes around 3 times, while S/2005 P2 goes around twice. Based on this information, scientists suspect that the moons formed at the same time that Charon formed, when some massive object smashed into Pluto soon after the planet's birth 4.5 billion years ago. Chunks that flew off in the collision then became moons when they were trapped by the planet's gravity. More observations are needed to confirm that the two objects actually orbit Pluto, but astronomers have reason to believe that they do. The same two objects also appear in pictures taken by Hubble 3 years ago. After finishing with your textbook, keep watching the news. It's the only way to keep up with our constantly changing map of outer space.—E. Sohn

Pluto's New Moons
Pluto's New Moons








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