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Pluto is undergoing global warming, researchers find Pluto is undergoing global warming, as evidenced by a three-fold increase in the planet's atmospheric pressure during the past 14 years, a team of astronomers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Williams College, the University of Hawaii, Lowell Observatory and Cornell University announced in a press conference today at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society's (AAS) Division for Planetary Sciences in Birmingham, AL.
The team, led by James Elliot, professor of planetary astronomy at MIT and director of MIT's Wallace Observatory, made this finding by watching the dimming of a star when Pluto passed in front of it Aug. 20. The team carried out observations using eight telescopes at Mauna Kea Observatory, Haleakala, Lick Observatory, Lowell Observatory and Palomar Observatory. Data were successfully recorded at all sites.
An earlier attempt to observe an occultation of Pluto on July 19 in Chile was not highly successful. Observations were made from only two sites with small telescopes because the giant telescopes and other small telescopes involved lost out to bad weather or from being in the wrong location that day. These two occultations were the first to be successfully observed for Pluto since 1988. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
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