Beverages Recepie Collection 2014


The Apple Flower Cocktail www.abeautifulmess.comThe Apple Flower is light and fresh with the perfect amount of floral sweetness. Recently, I’ve been reworking my cocktail cart for Spring, storing away certain items and adding new seasonal flavors. Jeremy and I have been working on a short list of signature cocktails that we can serve to guests for dinners and brunches. This cocktail would work for brunch, which is always a perk! 

The Apple Flower Cocktail.. making fresh apple and lime juice www.abeautifulmess.comThe Apple Flower Cocktail, Serves One 

Fresh juice (I used 3 small green apples and two limes) 
Rose Water
Bénédictine Liqueur 

In a medium sized glass, combine 2 ounces of Bénédictine Liqueur and one drop of rose water. Be very careful when adding the rose water because adding too much will make your drink taste like a bottle of perfume. The easiest way to get just one (teeny tiny) drop is to just dip an unused straw into the rose water and then use that straw in your drink, stirring it a little. Add ice and top the glass off with fresh green apple and lime juice. Garnish with a lime or an edible flower.The Apple Flower Cocktail The Apple Flower Cocktail  I hope you enjoy this refreshing cocktails! If you don’t drink you should still try fresh apple and lime juice with just one drop of rosewater. It’s so good and tastes exactly like Spring! 



Boozy Gummy Bears- so fun & easy to make! Click for instructionsI’ve always wanted to try vodka soaked gummy bears ever since seeing them on Pinterest. To be honest, I was a little scared that it was too good to be true. Would the gummies get all sticky or giant and weird? Plus all of the instructions on Pinterest are different. Reading through the search you’ll see people recommending they soak for an hour, a day, and a week. That’s crazy different, right? Well, we tried it and here’s what we learned… 

Making boozy gummy bears! It's so easy! Making Vodka soaked gummy bears!The method we chose to try was soaking the gummy bears (and worms) for about 24 hours. We tried three different types of alcohol- apple vodka, coconut rum and watermelon vodka. We poured the alcohol over the gummy candy until it was completely immersed. Then we covered it in plastic wrap and popped it in the fridge for 24 hours. The next day the gummies had soaked up most the alcohol, there was only a little bit to strain out. If we had left them in for 48 hours they probably would have soaked it all in. 

Apple vodka soaked gummy bearsThe bears tasted amazing. They weren’t sticky or gross at all, but we did use a spoon to put them on our plates. Our favorite flavors were the apple vodka and coconut rum. I noticed that the gummy worms weren’t as soft. I have seen that you can try this method with nearly any liquor and any gummy candy, so the possibilities are pretty cool! 

Have you ever tried alcohol soaked gummy candy? What do you think, delicious or weird? They were a HUGE hit at Emma’s bachelorette party! 




First Kiss Punch RecipeFirst Kiss Punch RecipeLately I have been on a punch kick! It’s so much fun to make a big batch of a yummy cocktail for small gatherings. It’s fun to create a custom punch recipe for each occasion, and it saves so much time mixing cocktails as guests can help themselves. This punch is called First Kiss, in honor of Valentine’s Day!Valentine punch recipeFirst Kiss Punch, serves 6

2 cups honey whiskey
1 cup light rum
1 cup St-Germain
1 cup raspberry pucker
2 cups pineapple juice
1 cup grapefruit juice
3 liters gingerale
4 tablespoons grenadine syrup
8 splashes cherry and blood orange bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a large container (our container holds 1.5 gallons). Top off with ice immediately before the party.Heart shaped ice cubesHeart shaped ice cubes can be fun! To make these I froze grenadine, blood orange bitters and raspberry gingerale.First Kiss Cocktail Recipe Garnish with cherries and enjoy! 

First Kiss Cocktail (by A Beautiful Mess)




Rosemary and honey syrup recipeI was inspired by my sister’s latte syrups. So, like any good little sister, I decided to make some too. 🙂 I happened to have some left over rosemary in my refrigerator and so I decided to try a rosemary latte. I had never had one before but I love the smell and taste of rosemary. I have been obsessed with making homemade lattes after getting an espresso maker for Christmas.
Rosemary and honey syrupFirst I made a rosemary and honey syrup.

1 cup water 
1/2 cup honey 
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Bring the water and honey to a boil while stirring to dissolve the honey. Turn the heat down to a simmer and add the rosemary sprigs. Let this cook down for 10-12 minutes until the mixture has thicken some. Remove from heat and allow to cool before use.Rosemary LatteI still have a ways to go with my latte making skills. But I must say that a rosemary latte is my new favorite! I love how the syrup turned out the perfect amount of sweet and savory without being too overpowering. I store my syrup in the refrigerator and will probably use most of it up within two weeks. Oh, and do you see how there is a rosemary sprig in the bottle? I just added that for aesthetics. It’s not really necessary, so if you create this at home feel free to leave it out if you wish



Blood Orange Bloody Mary Recipe!My husband is a HUGE Bloody Mary fan. He made me a convert too. Last year when we were traveling we tried as many Bloody Marys as we could fit in. It was so fun, and I was pretty impressed with the variation that exists from one restaurant or bar to the next. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with unique twists on classic cocktails. With that said, I present to you… the Blood Orange Bloody Mary!Blood Oranges- so delicious!Blood oranges are beautifulBlood oranges are one of the most beautiful fruits! They are in season in the winter, and I look forward to them every year. Now, I know what you’re thinking… fruity flavor + bloody mary = kinda weird. I was thinking the same thing… until I tried it. The citrus in this drink is subtle. It enhances but does not overpower the classic flavors.Blood Orange Bloody Mary Supplies NeededSupplies Needed: Tomato Juice, Vodka, 1 Blood Orange, 1/2 a Lime, Tabasco, Worcestershire Sauce, Sea Salt, Ice Cubes and Celery.Juicing blood orangesDirections: Use lime juice to add sea salt to the rim of your glass. In each glass, combine four parts tomato juice, juice of one blood orange (save one slice for the garnish), one shot vodka (make it a double if you dare….), juice of 1/2 lime, 1 teaspoon tabasco, 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Stir with a long spoon. Add a blood orange slice and a piece of celery for garnish. Enjoy! 

*Adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe.Mixing a blood orange bloody maryBlood Orange Bloody Mary Recipe

Let me know if you try the recipe! Are you a blood orange fan?




Best pancakesElsie has a theory that the best pancakes are made at home. It’s probably no surprise to you that we love homemade. And homemade pancakes are the perfect example. You can make them exactly how you want and wear your pjs while eating them. This is one of my all time favorite pancake recipes. The addition of the ricotta makes these just the right amount of creamy.Ricotta pancakesColorful pancakesRicotta Pancakes, makes 6-8

3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup ricotta
1/2 cup milk
oil or butter for cooking

In a bowl combine all ingredients until nearly no lumps appear in the batter. Heat a skillet over medium heat with a couple tablespoons oil or butter. I usually use oil (canola or vegetable) as I prefer a slightly crispy edge to my pancake. When your pan is hot pour 1/4 cup batter in the center. Wait until the batter begins to bubble, then flip. Adjust your heat if the pancakes are cooking too fast or too slow.
Ricotta pancake recipe




Baked apple and bourbon ice cream recipeThis ice cream was very much inspired by my favorite fall pie recipe. I love baked apple and a little bourbon. This was my first time experimenting with using liquor in an ice cream batter. I wondered if it would effect the consistency of the ice cream after freezing (since liquor doesn’t freeze) and it turns out it does. But only slightly. You will only use a small amount of bourbon in this recipe but it will cause your finished ice cream to be just a bit softer than the usual. Worth it. 🙂Baked apple ice creamBaked Apple and Bourbon Ice Cream, makes 1 quart

1 granny smith apple
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 shot (about 1.5 to 2 oz) bourbon

Heat the milk and sugar in a pot over medium/high heat just until it begins to boil. Then reduce the heat slightly. In another bowl whisk together the egg yolks. Pour a few tablespoons of the hot milk mixture in with the egg yolks and stir. Once the egg yolk mixture is tempered add it to the pot of hot milk. Whisk to combine. Continue cooking over medium heat until it thickens. Turn the heat off and remove the pot from the burner, add in the whipping cream and bourbon. Stir to combine. Pour into an air tight container and refrigerate overnight. 

Peel and chop your apple into very small pieces. Coat in 1/3 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon sugar and bake in a small oven-safe bowl just until soft (I baked mine at 350°F for about 8 minutes). Set aside and allow to cool completely.

Pour the ice cream batter in to your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer directions for use. A few minutes before your ice cream is done stir in the baked apples.Baked apple & bourbon ice cream

Grape and Watermelon Soda


Here’s a simple recipe using 2 summer favourite fruits-Watermelon and Grapes -combine them with soda and it turns into a nice mocktail!!


1/2 fresh watermelon
1 cup green or red grapes
2 ripe plums
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp salt
1 bottle soda water (sparkling soda)
6-7 icecubes
watermelon pieces – to garnish

Crush the ice cubes, watermelon, grapes, plums in a blender. Mix in the sugar, lemon juice and salt. Leave a little watermelon pulp aside and cut into small pieces. Now take a serving glass and fill it 1/2 with the juice. Fill the remaining 1/2 with the sparkling soda. Add more icecubes if needed and add the cut watermelon pieces.

This Watermelon Soda is a beautiful and healthy Summer Drink. Refresh your senses with this cool soda on a summer afternoon or early evening!

Raspberry Coulis(Sauce) with Creme – Layered Dessert


The recipe below can be easily modified to suit availability of seasonal fruits like strawberries, pears, apricot or apple. The fruit coulis can also be made ahead and preserved in a jar in the refrigerator and used as topping for other cakes, ice creams and desserts.

3 ounces fresh or frozen raspberries (or strawberries)
1 cup sugar(or more if needed sweet)
1/2 cup water
8 orange-flavored biscuits(cookies)
1 cup ready-whip (cool whip)


Raspberry Coulis (Sauce)
Take the fresh raspberries, deseed them and add to a blender. If using frozen ones, thaw then first then blend. Add the sugar and blend to form a smooth puree. Strain the puree theough a colander or sieve mesh to remove seeds and keep aside.

Now heat a pot on medium flame, add the raspberry puree to it and 1/4th cup water. Stir to mix and thicken the syrup. Add a little more water if required, but not too much. Cook the puree to form a thick jam-like fruit preserve, more like a compote recipe. When the water has evaporated and the mixture is thick enough, remove from flame and allow to cool.

Take the cool whip (add sugar if its not sweetened) and blend in a mixer on the “whip” setting for 3 short pulses. Add the orange zest and pulse again, then set in the refrigerator until time to serve.

Take the orange biscuits and grind them in the blender to form a smooth-to-coarse powder.

To assemble the dessert, take a tall clear serving glass. Start with a layer of ground biscuits, then add the warm raspberry coulis, then layer with the creme fraiche. Repeat the process with all 3 layers again. Top with a sprinkling of fresh orange zest, or use the ground powder and mint leaves for garnish. This delicious dessert is on its way to Susan who’s hosting this week’s edition of WHB started by Kalyn’s Kitchen!

This layered dessert tastes best with warm fruit topping and cool creme fraiche; the temperature difference nicely balances the taste. This is a great and simple recipe for a quick dessert when you are entertaining! Plus the basic Raspberry Sauce can be used as a topping for any other desserts.





Red velvet and pink hot chocolateWith Valentine’s day steadily creeping up on us I thought it would be fun to make a little festive hot chocolate treat. Behold darlings: pink hot chocolate and red velvet hot chocolate! Share one of these with your bestie or your Mr. Tis’ the season for chocolate, and pink, and appreciating the loved one’s in your life.



Red velvet hot chocolateRed Velvet Hot Chocolate, makes 2 servings.


Needed: 4-5 cups milk, 1 cup dark chocolate chips, 2-3 drops red food coloring.


Pink hot chocolatePink Hot Chocolate, makes 2 servings.


Needed: 4-5 cups milk, 1 cup white chocolate chips, and 2 tablespoons strawberry syrup.


Red velvet and pink hot chocolate 2

For each of these beverages the method is the same: in a small pot heat the milk over medium heat. Add the chocolate chips and continue to stir constantly as they melt and incorporate into the milk. Add the syrup or dye. Serve with whip cream and cozy up with someone. 🙂 Enjoy! xo. emma and elsie



Ghost milkshakesMy sister and I loved this idea for creating ghost milkshakes. So cute! What a fun idea for dressing up a sweet beverage for a Halloween party. We took the idea and expanded it into three different spooky milkshake ideas.How to paint with chocolateFirst melt 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips. You can do this in a small pot on the stove or in the microwave. Once the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and use a clean (never used before) paintbrush to create your design inside the glass. Allow this to set over night. Be sure to store them in a cool, dry place.How to make ghost milkshakesNow you can pour your milkshake into the prepared glass and you have a spooky ghost face! For my vanilla milk shake, I kept it simple by combining 2 parts vanilla ice cream with 1 part milk and blended until smooth. Add a little whip cream to finish the look.Vampire halloween decorI am a big Twilight fan (!!!!!!). So of course I wanted to create something vampire-themed. For these vampire bite milkshakes, you use the same chocolate-painting technique to create the bite marks. Once the chocolate is set, fill the glasses with the milkshake. Fill a plastic pastry bag with 4-5 tablespoons strawberry syrup. Carefully cut off the very tip of the pastry bag and insert it into the filled milkshake glass, aiming for the bite marks. Squirt a little “blood” on the bite marks and watch the syrup trickle down.How to make vampire blood milkshakesBe sure to serve these immediately, as the syrup will continue to trickle down the side of the glass. I think a plastic pastry bag works best for this technique, but you could also try a small plastic ziploc bag if you don’t have a pastry bag on hand.Monster blood milkshakeThis next one is very Goosebumps inspired: Monster Blood! I think I read every Goosebumps book my school library had when I was in 3rd or 4th grade (or maybe it was 5th—I’ll never tell!) And I loved Monster Blood—that was a good one. 🙂 To make my own monster blood, I simply combined 1/3 cup light corn syrup and a few drops of green food coloring. To thicken I left the monster blood in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.How to make monster bloodFill a pastry bag or squirt bottle with the prepared monster blood. Fill your glasses with milkshake, squirt a layer of monster blood around the inner edge and then top off with whipped cream. I also found these candy frogs to garnish my monster blood milkshake. I’m not totally sure what a gummy frog has to do with anything, but skewering one onto a stick in a monster blood milkshake seems pretty appropriate—given the circumstances. 🙂Halloween milkshakesPick your poison and have fun making your own spooky milkshakes this season! xo. Emma

Wine Fudgesicles

Red wine fudgesicles3

My quest for boozy homemade popsicles continues. Two weeks ago we made Strawberry Cocktail Popsicles, but I’ve been in the mood for something a little more… uh… chocolate. I went through a MAJOR fudgesicle phase as a kid (come on, who didn’t?!) and I’ve been a fan ever since. I wanted to create something a little more adult. Behold good sirs: Red Wine Fudgesicles. You’re welcome, world.

Red wine fudgesicles2Red Wine Fudgesicles, makes 4-6 popsicles depending on your tray size.

Needed: 1 cup red wine, 1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips and 1 1/2 cup milk.

In a small pot simmer the wine over low/medium heat for 12-18 minutes, allowing it to reduce. Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate until completely melted. Stir in the milk. Pour into your popsicle tray and freeze over night. (Note: you can use milk instead of wine for regular fudgesicles.)

Red wine fudgesicles3These are really fun and remind me of a certain Red Wine Chocolate sauce I’m fond of. Yum. Enjoy! xo. Emma



Make your own watermelon jelloI guess I’m into jello now. After making these mojito jello shots I just keep thinking of my jello related ideas I want to try. I decided to try watermelon jello next. I found these fairly small seedless watermelons at Target last week and thought they might make the perfect vessels.

Vessels for my jello creations. (Insert mad scientist cackle here.)Seedless watermelonI have a feeling seedless watermelon means underdeveloped. Or maybe it’s a variety. I could totally be wrong about that. But whatever the case, if you do decide to try and make these at home, I highly recommend trying to find the smallest watermelons you can, because the jello will set better.Fresh watermelon jelloFresh Watermelon Jello + Sea Salt, makes 4 large wedges.

3 cups fresh watermelon juice
2 cups water*
1/2 cup sugar
4 packets unflavored gelatin
coarse grain sea salt 

Start by cutting the watermelon in half and scooping out the fruit. Blend the fruit and strain through a fine mesh sieve, discarding the pulp. My watermelon made about 3 cups juice, if yours makes a little more or less don’t sweat it.

In a pot combine the water and sugar and stir to dissolve while cooking over medium heat. Remove from heat and whisk in the watermelon juice and unflavored gelatin. Pour into your hollow watermelon halves and refrigerate for 4+ hours.

*If you’d like to make this jello recipe more adult substitute 1 cup of the water with either white rum or vodka.How to make jello in a watermelonOnce the jello has set, place the watermelon halves on a cutting board with the jello side facing up. Cut in half. I tried flipping one of these over so the rind side was up to cut it in half and jello fell out, because it’s so heavy. So don’t do that. Even though it’s kind of funny. 🙂

Sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt and serve! Each wedge can easily serve two people so these could be fun for a party with a bunch of couples, or for kids. Enjoy! xo. Emma

phy hw

A dwarf planet is a planetary-mass object that is neither a planet nor a satellite. More explicitly, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) defines a dwarf planet as a celestial body in direct orbit of the Sun[1] that is massive enough for its shape to be controlled by gravitation, but that unlike a planet has not cleared its orbital region of other objects.[2][3] The term dwarf planet was adopted in 2006 as part of a three-way categorization of bodies orbiting the Sun,[1] brought about by an increase in discoveries of trans-Neptunian objects that rivaled Pluto in size, and finally precipitated by the discovery of an even more massive object, Eris.[4] This classification states that bodies large enough to have cleared the neighbourhood of their orbit are defined as planets, whereas those that are not massive enough to be rounded by their own gravity are defined as small Solar System bodies. Dwarf planets come in between. The exclusion of dwarf planets from the roster of planets by the IAU has been both praised and criticized; it was said to be the “right decision” by Mike Brown,[5][6][7] who discovered Eris and other new dwarf planets, but has been rejected by Alan Stern,[8][9] who had coined the term dwarf planet in 1990.[10]

It is estimated that there are hundreds to thousands of dwarf planets in the Solar System. The IAU currently recognizes five: Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris.[11] However, only two of these bodies, Ceres and Pluto, have been observed in enough detail to demonstrate that they fit the definition. Eris has been accepted as a dwarf planet because it is more massive than Pluto. The IAU subsequently decided that unnamed trans-Neptunian objects with an absolute magnitude brighter than +1 (and hence a diameter of ≥838 km assuming a geometric albedo of ≤1)[12] are to be named under the assumption that they are dwarf planets.[13] The only two such objects known at the time, Makemake and Haumea, went through this naming procedure and were declared to be dwarf planets.

It is suspected that another hundred or so known objects in the Solar System are dwarf planets.[14] Estimates are that up to 200 dwarf planets may be found when the entire region known as the Kuiper belt is explored, and that the number may exceed 10,000 when objects scattered outside the Kuiper belt are considered.[15] Individual astronomers recognize several of these,[14][15] and in August 2011 Mike Brown published a list of 390 candidate objects, ranging from “nearly certain” to “possible” dwarf planets.[16] Brown currently identifies eleven known objects – the five accepted by the IAU plus 2007 OR10, Quaoar, Sedna, Orcus, 2002 MS4 and Salacia – as “virtually certain”, with another dozen highly likely, and there are probably a hundred or so such objects in total.[14]

The classification of bodies in other planetary systems with the characteristics of dwarf planets has not been addressed.

Starting in 1801, astronomers discovered Ceres and other bodies between Mars and Jupiter, which were for some decades considered to be planets. Between then and around 1851, when the number of planets had reached 23, astronomers started using the word asteroid for the smaller bodies and then stopped naming or classifying them as planets.[18]

With the discovery of Pluto in 1930, most astronomers considered the Solar System to have nine planets, along with thousands of significantly smaller bodies (asteroids and comets). For almost 50 years Pluto was thought to be larger than Mercury,[19][20] but with the discovery in 1978 of Pluto’s moon Charon, it became possible to measure Pluto’s mass accurately and to determine that it was much smaller than in initial estimates.[21] It was roughly one-twentieth the mass of Mercury, which made Pluto by far the smallest planet. Although it was still more than ten times as massive as the largest object in the asteroid belt, Ceres, it was one-fifth that of Earth’s Moon.[22] Furthermore, having some unusual characteristics such as large orbital eccentricity and a high orbital inclination, it became evident it was a completely different kind of body from any of the other planets.[23]

In the 1990s, astronomers began to find objects in the same region of space as Pluto (now known as the Kuiper belt), and some even farther away.[24] Many of these shared some of the key orbital characteristics of Pluto, and Pluto started being seen as the largest member of a new class of objects, plutinos. This led some astronomers to stop referring to Pluto as a planet. Several terms, including subplanet and planetoid, started to be used for the bodies now known as dwarf planets.[25][26] By 2005, three trans-Neptunian objects comparable in size to Pluto (Quaoar, Sedna, and Eris) had been reported.[27] It became clear that either they would also have to be classified as planets, or Pluto would have to be reclassified.[28] Astronomers were also confident that more objects as large as Pluto would be discovered, and the number of planets would start growing quickly if Pluto were to remain a planet.[29]

In 2006, Eris (then known as 2003 UB313) was believed to be slightly larger than Pluto, and some reports unofficially referred to it as the tenth planet.[30] As a consequence, the issue became a matter of intense debate during the IAU General Assembly in August 2006.[31] The IAU’s initial draft proposal included Charon, Eris, and Ceres in the list of planets. After many astronomers objected to this proposal, an alternative was drawn up by Uruguayan astronomer Julio Ángel Fernández, in which he created a median classification for objects large enough to be round but that had not cleared their orbits of planetesimals. Dropping Charon from the list, the new proposal also removed Pluto, Ceres, and Eris, since they have not cleared their orbits.[32]

The IAU’s final Resolution 5A preserved this three-category system for the celestial bodies orbiting the Sun. It reads:

The IAU … resolves that planets and other bodies, except satellites, in our Solar System be defined into three distinct categories in the following way:

(1) A planet1 is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

(2) A “dwarf planet” is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape,2 (c) has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and (d) is not a satellite.

(3) All other objects,3 except satellites, orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as “Small Solar System Bodies.”


The term dwarf planet has itself been somewhat controversial, as it implies that these bodies are planets, much as dwarf stars are stars.[33] This is the conception of the Solar System that Stern promoted when he coined the phrase. The older word planetoid (“having the form of a planet”) has no such connotation, and is also used by astronomers for bodies that fit the IAU definition.[34] Brown states that planetoid is “a perfectly good word” that has been used for these bodies for years, and that the use of the term dwarf planet for a non-planet is “dumb”, but that it was motivated by an attempt by the IAU division III plenary session to reinstate Pluto as a planet in a second resolution.[35] Indeed, the draught of Resolution 5A had called these median bodies planetoids,[36][37] but the plenary session voted unanimously to change the name to dwarf planet.[1] The second resolution, 5B, defined dwarf planets as a subtype of planet, as Stern had originally intended, distinguished from the other eight that were to be called “classical planets”. Under this arrangement, the twelve planets of the rejected proposal were to be preserved in a distinction between eight classical planets and four dwarf planets. However, Resolution 5B was defeated in the same session that 5A was passed.[35] Because of the grammatical inconsistency of a dwarf planet not being a planet due to the failure of Resolution 5B, alternative terms such as nanoplanet and subplanet were discussed, but there was no consensus among the CSBN to change it.[38]



Pluto, minor-planet designation 134340 Pluto, is the largest object in the Kuiper belt, and the tenth-most-massive body observed directly orbiting the Sun. It is the second-most-massive known dwarf planet, after Eris. Like other Kuiper-belt objects, Pluto is composed primarily of rock and ice[14] and is relatively small, approximately one-sixth the mass of the Earth’s Moon and one-third its volume. It has an eccentric and highly inclined orbit that takes it from 30 to 49 AU (4.4–7.4 billion km) from the Sun. This causes Pluto to periodically come closer to the Sun than Neptune. As of 2011, it is 32.1 AU from the Sun.
Discovered in 1930, Pluto was originally classified as the ninth planet from the Sun. However, its status as a major planet fell into question following further study of it and the outer Solar System over the ensuing 75 years. Starting in 1977 with discovery of minor planet 2060 Chiron, numerous icy objects similar to Pluto with eccentric orbits were found.[15] The most notable of these was the scattered disc object Eris—discovered in 2005, which is 27% more massive than Pluto.[16] The understanding that Pluto is only one of several large icy bodies in the outer Solar System prompted the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to formally define what it means to be a “planet” in 2006. This definition excluded Pluto and reclassified it as a member of the new “dwarf planet” category (and specifically as a plutoid).[17] A number of scientists hold that Pluto should have remained classified as a planet, and that other dwarf planets should be added to the roster of planets along with Pluto.[18][19]
Pluto has five known moons: Charon (the largest, with a diameter just over half that of Pluto), Nix, Hydra, Kerberos, and Styx.[5] Pluto and Charon are sometimes described as a binary system because the barycenter of their orbits does not lie within either body.[20] However, the IAU has yet to formalise a definition for binary dwarf planets, and as such Charon is officially classified as a moon of Pluto.[21]
In 2015, the Pluto system is due to be visited by spacecraft for the first time. The New Horizons probe will perform a flyby during which it will attempt to take detailed measurements and images of the plutoid and its moons.

In the 1840s, using Newtonian mechanics, Urbain Le Verrier predicted the position of the then-undiscovered planet Neptune after analysing perturbations in the orbit of Uranus.[22] Subsequent observations of Neptune in the late 19th century caused astronomers to speculate that Uranus’ orbit was being disturbed by another planet besides Neptune.
In 1906, Percival Lowell, a wealthy Bostonian who had founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1894, started an extensive project in search of a possible ninth planet, which he termed “Planet X”.[23] By 1909, Lowell and William H. Pickering had suggested several possible celestial coordinates for such a planet.[24] Lowell and his observatory conducted his search until his death in 1916, but to no avail. Unknown to Lowell, on March 19, 1915, surveys had captured two faint images of Pluto, but they were not recognised for what they were.[24][25] There are fifteen other known prediscoveries, with the oldest made by the Yerkes Observatory on August 20, 1909.[26]
Because of a ten-year legal battle with Constance Lowell, Percival’s widow, who attempted to wrest the observatory’s million-dollar portion of his legacy for herself, the search for Planet X did not resume until 1929,[27] when its director, Vesto Melvin Slipher, summarily handed the job of locating Planet X to Clyde Tombaugh, a 23-year-old Kansan who had just arrived at the Lowell Observatory after Slipher had been impressed by a sample of his astronomical drawings.[27]
Tombaugh’s task was to systematically image the night sky in pairs of photographs taken two weeks apart, then examine each pair and determine whether any objects had shifted position. Using a machine called a blink comparator, he rapidly shifted back and forth between views of each of the plates to create the illusion of movement of any objects that had changed position or appearance between photographs. On February 18, 1930, after nearly a year of searching, Tombaugh discovered a possible moving object on photographic plates taken on January 23 and January 29 of that year. A lesser-quality photograph taken on January 21 helped confirm the movement.[28] After the observatory obtained further confirmatory photographs, news of the discovery was telegraphed to the Harvard College Observatory on March 13, 1930.[24]