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New study suggests Pluto could be reclassified as a planet

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Pluto, as its official name, is a dwarf planet located in the Kuiper Belt, a distant region made up of millions of icy bodies beyond the orbit of Neptune. Although, a new study published in the planetary science journal Icarus, challenges this definition and rekindles, at least partially, the debate over its validity..

Pluto was designated as the ninth planet in our Solar System shortly after its discovery in 1930. At the time, many astronomers assumed that it was responsible for the observed perturbations in Neptune’s orbit that prompted searches for an even more distant planet.

Pluto.Pluto.Source: NASA/New Horizons

However, later observations soon determined that Pluto was smaller than the hypothetical planet initially assumed. With the discovery of the largest of its moons, Charon, in 1978, it was possible to determine the mass of Pluto, which resulted in the conclusion that it is not able to exert the gravitational influence of the observed perturbations.

It turned out, then, that Pluto is significantly smaller and less massive than all the other planets in the Solar System. Indeed, it gets to be smaller than our own moon, whose radius is approximately 1700 kilometers. Furthermore, its orbit is much more inclined with respect to the plane of the ecliptic (the plane defined by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun) than all other planetary orbits.

Pluto's orbit compared to other planets.Pluto’s orbit compared to other planets.Source: NASA

At the beginning of this century, the discovery of other bodies of comparable size to Pluto, such as Eris, Makemake and Sedna, led to a reformulation of the classification of planets. In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) adopted a new definition of a planet based on three main characteristics: a body that has established a stable orbit around the Sun; a body that developed a spheroidal shape, and finally; the body that has cleared its orbit of remaining debris (that is, it is the main celestial body of its orbit).

Although Pluto meets the first two categories, it fails the third condition, since its orbit passes very close to the Kuiper Belt, where short-period comets originate. Since 2006, then, Pluto, along with some of the other bodies discovered, have been demoted to the category of dwarf planets.

However, a team of scientists wants Pluto to be reclassified as a planet, along with dozens of similar bodies in the Solar System. The 5-year study was published in December and is led by Philip Metzger of the Florida Space Institute. The authors argue that the IAU definition was based on a “popular concept of a planet that contradicts the scientific view” and that redefining these taxonomic concepts is vital for planetary science..

According to the authors, the current classification of planets is unscientific and the classic definition, from the 16th century, that planets are any geologically active bodies in space should be reasserted.

In addition to Pluto, this definition would include many other objects, from the asteroid Ceres to the moons Europa, Enceladus and Titan, and the Solar System would have up to more than 150 planets.

ARTICLE Icarus: doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2021.114768

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Phones

iPhone 13 and 13 Pro Max became the best-selling phones in the world

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iPhone 13 and 13 Pro Max became the best selling phones

Analyst Francisco Geronimo of IDC reports that Apple’s iPhone 13 was the world’s best-selling smartphone in the first quarter of this year despite major supply issues.

IDC does not disclose the total number of devices sold, as well as the market share of phones. The company recalls that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 11 were the top-selling phones of 2021 and 2020, respectively, so the iPhone 13 was expected to perform similarly. The iPhone 13 retails for $800 in the US, offering an Apple A15 Bionic SoC, a dual camera setup, a 6.1-inch notched display, and iOS 15.

iPhone 13 and 13 Pro Max became the best-selling phones in the world

The 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max took second place in the first quarter of 2022, indicating that people are more than willing to pay more for a bigger screen, better camera, and longer battery life.

The 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro took a respectable fourth place, while the tiny 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini failed to make the top five. The latter further explains the rumors about Apple’s decision to phase out the iPhone mini. Combined, the iPhone 13 family accounts for 84% of total iPhone revenue in the first three months of 2022. The rest of the revenue comes from the iPhone SE (2022) and older iPhone 12 and iPhone 11 models. Analysts believe that the iPhone 14 could be even more successful.

Two 6.1-inch iPhones from Apple made the top five last quarter. But perhaps more important is the fact that the 6.7-inch Apple Pro model is outselling the 6.1-inch version. So the next generation 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Max could be an extremely profitable model for Apple. It will offer everything consumers love about Apple’s regular bestseller, but in a larger form factor that will be much more affordable than the Pro line.

iPhone 13 and 13 Pro Max became the best-selling phones in the world

The entry-level Samsung Galaxy A12 ranked third in the first quarter, while the mid-range Galaxy A32 ranked fifth.

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Xiaomi has announced a new 86-inch TV. Promise high image quality and high performance

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Xiaomi has announced a new 86 inch TV Promise high image

Xiaomi has released a teaser image of its new TV today. In the picture – the edge of the TV with the inscription “Pro” on a metal frame. The company’s marketers point out three features of this model at once, which make it possible to attribute the new product to the “Pro” category: high image quality, high performance and, of course, size. Still, 86 inches is not small.

Xiaomi has announced a new 86-inch TV.  Promise high image quality and high performance

No more details, but you can think that the novelty will not be cheap. Interestingly, the official premiere is scheduled for May 23, Monday, and not on Tuesday May 24 – on this day, the company will present many new products, including Redmi Note 11T Pro smartphones and the Mi Band 7 fitness bracelet.

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Software

Paid apps in Huawei AppGallery can be downloaded completely free of charge: Huawei has not yet responded

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Paid apps in Huawei AppGallery can be downloaded completely free

Since Huawei was under US sanctions, Huawei has been forced to switch to its own software solutions as it is banned from using Google services. One of them is the AppGallery app store, which has become a replacement for Google Play.

AppGallery has a pretty serious issue that one developer says has remained unresolved for months, even though he reported it to Huawei back in February. This vulnerability allows anyone with a little bit of technical skill, some free time, and a bit of inclination to put in a little effort to download and install any paid app from AppGallery without paying for it. Of course, for developers who support Huawei by releasing their apps in the AppGallery, this is very bad news.

Paid apps in Huawei AppGallery can be downloaded completely free of charge: Huawei has not yet responded

Dylan Roussel, the developer who discovered the problem, emphasizes that this vulnerability is on the side of Huawei, which still remains unresolved. The bottom line is that the AppGallery API does not offer any protection for paid apps.

Roussel himself was able to download and use several paid apps by exploiting this vulnerability. Obviously, this is a big problem, because with the active exploitation of the vulnerability, developers will receive less profit from the possible sale of their applications.

It remains to be hoped that Huawei will soon solve the problem.

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