Michael E. Brown

Michael E. Brown
Michael_E_Brown
Astronomy Professor
Specialty Dwarf planets
Born Jun. 5, 1965
Nationality American

Michael E. Brown has risen to a high level of prominence at the California Institute of Technology as he serves as a professor of planetary astronomy. His body of professional and academic work is vast. He has discovered a number of dwarf planets and is sometimes credited as the man who “killed Pluto.”

Early Life and Education

Brown was born on June 5, 1965, in Huntsville, AL. He was a distinguished student at Virgil I. Grissom High School and graduated from it in 1983. He would go on and attend Princeton University and graduate in 1987 with an A.B. in physics. His tenure at Princeton was not the end of his academic career. He would go on to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where he sought and completed both a Master of the Arts and a Ph.D. in astronomy in 1990 and 1994 respectively.

Professional Career

Brown achieved a high level of fame in the scientific community for the work he has done on distant objects that orbit the sun. His observations have proven to be quite revealing and innovative. Among the more interesting discoveries was that of TNOs, which are trans-Neptunian objects. The discovery of Eris would be among his most notable achievements, and it was a significant one.

Discovery of Eris

To some, online casino there is the belief that all there is to know about space has been revealed once and for all. Specifically, we were once destined to be limited in the knowledge that there were nine planets and several moons revolving around the sun. Obviously, the limits of our technology make it very difficult to learn more.

Skilled and dedicated astronomers such as Michael E. Brown were able to make the great discoveries of such things as Eris, which is a dwarf planet that is actually much larger than Pluto. The end result of the discovery of Eris was Pluto was downgraded from its status as a planet. Also discovered was the moon that encircled Eris and the name of this moon was Dysnomia.

Humorously, Brown had originally referred to the planet and the moon Xena and Gabrielle. These names were taken from the classic syndicated fantasy television show Xena: Warrior Princess. Obviously, these colloquial names had to be changed when the time came to formally give them legitimate monikers.

In 2010, Brown published a book entitled How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming. This book covered the entire process of discovering Eris and the aftermath in which the International Astronomical Union opted to remove Pluto from the list of major planets in the solar system. The most positive thing about the book, as its name indicated, was the fact that it was written for the average person. Instead of crafting a boring, academic study, Brown wrote an engaging memoir that was both informative and entertaining.

The Haumea Controversy

Brown was involved in a somewhat controversial event surrounding the discovery of a dwarf planet named Huamea. Essentially, Brown and his team were the first to discover the presence of the dwarf planet, the first one discovered since Pluto in 1930. However, a team in Spain run by José Luis Ortiz Moreno made the first announcement.

At first, Brown believed that the Moreno team did in fact make the first discovery. In time, he would change his opinion and believe fraud was occurring. A series of public spats emerged. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) eventually allowed Brown”s team at Caltech to get the credit for naming the planet, but Moreno was able to maintain credit for the discovery. This may have been a compromise solution to what could have continued to be a difficult situation.

Awards and Honors

Brown was listed on Time Magazine”s Top 100 Most Interesting People in 2006 and this certainly gave him a bit of pop culture publicity. He would also go on and receive the prestigious Feynman Prize from Caltech for his excellence in teaching and contributions to astronomy. To this day, he still teaches and works for Caltech.

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