Orcus Moon Named

Mike Brown has announced the winner of his Name-the-Moon-of-Orcus contest. Noting several suggested names were pulled from D&D, Tolkien, or Disney, he finally decided to suggest the name Vanth, who is traditionally paired with Orcus in Etruscan society.

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Red Spot Shrinking

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have released a report stating that Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a storm that measures about three earth-diameters across and has been seen since telescopes were first turned on the planet, has shrunk by 15% along its major access between 1996 and 2006. the scientists note that winds in the storm continue to rage at more than 300 miles per hour and there is no indication that the Red Spot will disappear.

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Asteroid Recovered

For the first time, meteorites from an asteroid which had been tracked in space have been recovered. Researchers at the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona spotted an asteroid on a course for Earth. JPL confirmed it would intersect with the planet and the asteroid was tracked until it exploded at an altitude of 37 miles. Following its disintegration, meteorites were found by students in the Sudan desert. The meteorite’s composition matches spectroanalysis performed on the asteroid by La Palma in the Canary Islands.

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Name That Moon

Astronomer Mike Brown is seeking suggestions for the moon in orbit around Kuiper Belt Object Orcus. The moon, discovered in 2005, currently bears the less than memorable designation “S/1 90482 (2005).” In his description of the object, Brown notes that Orcus is named for the Etruscan god of the dead, who was subsumed into the Roman Pluto.

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