Dwarf Planet Essay

1340 Words 6 Pages
Seaghan Kinneen

8.5 billion miles from the Sun, over ninety-one times the distance between the Earth and the Sun, stands the newest addition to the Solar System. 2014 UZ224, located some 4.83 billion miles beyond Pluto, joined Ceres, Eris, Haumea, Makemake, and the aforementioned Pluto, as the most recently discovered Solar System Dwarf Planet.
To understand the definition of a Dwarf Planet, one must understand the definition of a regular planet. In a 2006 assembly that has gained notoriety for “killing” the planetary status of Pluto, the International Astronomical Union, or IAU, resolved definitions for both planets and dwarf planet. They outlined four criteria that determine planetary status for celestial bodies. The first is that the celestial body must be in orbit around the sun. The second is that the celestial body must have a large enough mass that it reaches hydrostatic equilibrium,
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Using physics and various equations, it is possible to accurately predict important characteristics of the dwarf planet. Using radar, the distance from the Earth to 2104 UZ224 can be determined. Using this distance, the planets diameter can be determined using the formula
Diameter=(2π(distance)(angular diameter))/360
Angular diameter is the angle between two lines of sight of an object. For objects that are incredibly far away from the Earth, like 2014 UZ224, determining the diameter is difficult, and requires a large telescope above Earth’s atmosphere. Additionally, it is easiest to determine the diameter when the object is at Opposition. When an object is at Opposition, it is in the opposite direction from the sun in respect to the Earth. When an object in space is in Opposition, it is as close to the Earth as it goes, and therefore, it is the easiest time to study it. Kepler’s third law, the law of harmonies, can be used to determine the orbital period of the planet. According to the law,

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