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Pluto's Atmosphere Found Poisonous and Surprisingly High

Poisonous carbon monoxide gas has been discovered in the atmosphere of the dwarf planet Pluto, after a worldwide search that lasted nearly two decades, according to a new study that also detected the planet's atmosphere extendingmuch higher above the surface than previously thought. Full story

Pluto may host an ocean

Freezing, distant Pluto seems an odd place to look for oceanfront real estate, but if a new computer model is correct, the dwarf planet harbors a sizeable pool of liquids beneath its thick icy shell. Full story

Fighting for Pluto's Planet Title: Q & A With Planetary Scientist Alan Stern

Alan Stern has been fighting for Pluto's planethood ever since the icy body was demoted to "dwarf planet" in 2006. Full story

Dwarf Planet Eris May Be Smaller Than Pluto After All

This story was updated at 7:45 p.m. ET, Nov. 9. The dwarf planet Eris — once thought to be the largest body in the solar system beyond Neptune's orbit — may actually be smaller than Pluto, new observations suggest. Full story

Spot makes strange dwarf planet stranger

Astronomers have detected what appears to be an organic-rich red spot on a dwarf planet already known for its unusual shape and fast spin. Full story

Could life on Earth have come from Ceres?

The dwarf planet Ceres is rarely mentioned as a candidate for habitability, but the possible presence of an ocean and hydrothermal vents suggests it is plausible. It has even been suggested that life developed on Ceres long ago and went on to seed the Earth. Full story

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Related Photos

Haumea's red spot
Haumea's red spot

A series of images shows how Haumea's red spot changes position as the dwarf planet rotates.

Dwarf planets
Dwarf planets

This graphic compares the sizes of five dwarf planets and their moons with the size of Earth and its moon. The top row shows, from left, Eris and its moon, Dysnomia; Pluto and its three moons, Charon, Nix and Hydra; and Makemake. The bottom row shows Haumea and its two moons, Namaka and Hi'iaka; Cer

This artist rendering shows the dwarf planet, Eris, with the sun in the background. The discovery of Eris by Mike Brown of Caltech was announced on July 29, 2005. Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech
This artist rendering shows the dwarf planet, Eris, with the sun in the background. The discovery of Eris by Mike Brown of Caltech was announced on July 29, 2005. Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech

This artist rendering shows the dwarf planet, Eris, with the sun in the background. The discovery of Eris by Mike Brown of Caltech was announced on July 29, 2005. Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech