Astronomy Closer Look: Pluto

Discussion in 'Astronomy' started by JcMinJapan, Sep 13, 2004.

  1. JcMinJapan

    JcMinJapan Premium Member

    Ok, the last in my series of our planets. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

    Pluto is the ninth planet from the sun at a distance of 5,913,520,000 km or 39.5 AU.

    Pluto rotates very slow considering it is the smallest planet. One Plutonian day is equal to 6.39 Earth days and a year on Pluto is the same as 247.7 Earth years
    It is the smallest planet as mentioned above and is 2340 km in diameter and its mass is 1.32e22 kg.

    The atmosphere consists of methane and nitrogen. But, there seems to only be an atmosphere when Pluto is within the orbit of Neptune, and the gases frozen at the poles, thaw.

    Cool Facts:

    It was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh.

    It is named after the Roman god of the underworld, the judge of the dead and the son of Saturn. Sorry folks, not the famous disney character. ha ha

    It is the only planet never to have been visited by a spacecraft.

    Pluto crosses the orbit of Neptune and stays there for 20 years. During that time, Pluto is closer to the Sun than Neptune.

    Pluto is smaller than our Moon. Consequently, some astronomers do not believe Pluto to be a genuine planet, but a moon which may have escaped Neptune's gravitational pull.

    Charon is the name of Plutos moon and it was discovered in 1978 by James W. Christy. It is named after the mythological boatman who ferried the dead souls across the river Styx to Pluto for judgement.

    For very detailed information and great photos of Uranus visit NASA