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When is a planet not a planet? Dwarf planets orbit the sun, are solid bodies, and are not moons. But they are not considered regular planets. Learn more about these spherical oddities and why Pluto is still hotly debated today.
Dr. Stephen Kortenkamp is a professional astronomer who studies small solar system objects like asteroids, comets, and moons. His research also involves the formation of planets, both in our solar system and around other stars. Dr. Kortenkamp is a Senior Research Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute (www.psi.edu) in Tucson, Arizona. His research is supported with grants from NASA and the National Science Foundation. He also teaches planetary science at the University of Arizona and in 2011 won the prestigious "Innovations in Teaching" award from the College of Science. Through the Planetary Science Institute, Dr. Kortenkamp conducts training and continuing education workshops for elementary and middle school science teachers in southern Arizona. He has written more than 20 children's books about topics related to space and has served as a scientific consultant on more than a dozen others. Steve's wife Jane is also a professional astronomer and together they have three young children. When they are not star-gazing, Steve and Jane are competitive endurance athletes who race in Ironman triathlons, marathons, and open-water swims.
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