Pluto: Name that Planet

SCIENCE Princess Leia! Octavia Butler! RIPLEY! The International Astronomical Union has approved themes submitted by NASA’s New Horizons team for naming surface features on Pluto and its moons. Gallifrey! Spock! Mordor! (NASA) How did NASA set its horizons on our favorite dwarf planet? Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit. Discussion Ideas Note to teachers: You’ll definitely want … Continue reading Pluto: Name that Planet

11 Things We Learned This Week

What did you learn this week? We learned … … what the best new maps are, according to cartographers. Zoom in on one of the best maps of the year, from National Geographic magazine’s May issue.   … Pluto’s heavy heart may have turned the world upside-down. How did NASA get close enough to peer into Pluto’s pretty heart?   … bird poop may keep … Continue reading 11 Things We Learned This Week

Pluto on the Horizon

SCIENCE After almost a decade in flight, New Horizons will fly by the enigmatic dwarf planet on Tuesday. What it will find there is anybody’s guess. (National Geographic magazine) Play our fun game to learn “Pluto’s Secret” ahead of New Horizons. (Or, make your own paper model of Pluto and the New Horizons spacecraft!) Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in … Continue reading Pluto on the Horizon

And Then There Were Eight

Poor Pluto. Today astronomers voted to strip it of its planet status, downsizing Pluto to a dwarf and leaving our solar system with just eight planets. The new rules say a planet must be “a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a … nearly round shape, and … Continue reading And Then There Were Eight