Word of the Week 021821

Pluto

Greetings Word of the Week fans and welcome to the Feb. 18 edition of Clarion County's favorite word game.

It was on this date in 1930 that Astronomer Clyde Tombaugh located a new planet while in the observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and named it after the Greek god of the underworld, Pluto.

Pluto, once considered the ninth and most distant planet from the sun, is now the largest known dwarf planet in the solar system. It is also one of the largest known members of the Kuiper Belt, a shadowy zone beyond the orbit of Neptune thought to be populated by hundreds of thousands of rocky, icy bodies each larger than 62 miles across, along with 1 trillion or more comets.

You thought we were going to talk about the cartoon dog, didn't you?

Instead, we're going to discuss mulct.

It's our word for the week does mulct mean:

A: A fine or compulsory payment. "I think you're likely to have to pay a mulct," the sheriff told the defendant. "Or, the judge might put you in jail. It all depends on your attitude."

B: A chopped mix of grains made for horses. "Oh Wilbur, I just love my morning bucket of mulct," said Mr. Ed.

C: The center mast on a large sailing ship. "Argh," said Blackbeard. "Hoist that scurvy dog of a first mate up the mulct."

D: Space debris. "Capt. Kirk, I think the Enterprise has struck a field of mulct," said Bones. "Shall we stop at Planet Belchtron and have a look at the exterior?"

Pluto has five moons: Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra, with Charon being the closest to Pluto and Hydra the most distant.

In 1978, astronomers discovered Pluto has a very large moon nearly half the dwarf planet's own size. This moon was dubbed Charon, after the mythological demon who ferried souls to the underworld in Greek mythology.

Because Charon and Pluto are so similar in size, their orbit is unlike that of most planets and their moons. Both Pluto and Charon orbit a point in space that lies between them. For this reason, scientists refer to Pluto and Charon as a double dwarf planet, double planet or binary system.

The correct answer to the Word of the Week challenge is "A."