Universe Guide

Home / Facts

Pluto


Pluto is the ex-nineth planet from the Sun. It is now classed as a dwarf planet, too big and too spherical to be classed as an asteroid but its path is not cleared. The planet is classed as a dwarf planet. Pluto derives its name from the Roman god for God of Death. Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. Since 2006, Pluto is no longer deemed to be a planet like Earth, it now known as a dwarf planet, a planet that amongst other things has not cleared its path round the Sun. The mass of the object is 0.0125. The equatorial radius of the planet is 1195 whereas the volumetic mean radius is 1195. The Mean Density of the planet is 1750. The surface acceleration of the planet is 0.58. The time the planet takes to revolve round the Sun is 90560 days or roughly 248.1 Earth Years. The length of a day on the planet is 153.282 hours, i.e. the time it takes to revolve once on its axis. The average temperature of the planet is -50K/-223C. The surface pressure of the planet is -3 microbars.

Pluto is about 5870000000km from the Sun. The Orbit Eccentricity is 0.2444, that is how much the orbit deviates from a circle, between 0 and 1. The Orbit Inclination is -3, that is how much the orbit deviates from a circle, between 0 and 1. The volume of Pluto at the equator is 0.715. The escape velocity, the speed which is need to break free is 1.1. The surface gravity of Pluto is 0.58 compared to Earth which for purpose of this site is 1. The following gasses can be found in the Pluto's atmosphere : Methane (CH4), Nitrogen (N2)\n. More information and the source for the moon can be found at N.A.S.A.

Since its discovery in the 1930s until 2005, Pluto was a planet, the most distant from the sun. However when astronomers discovered the kuiper belt object Eris in 2003, its days of being a planet were numbered. Eris with its companion moon Dysnomia was calculated to be larger than Pluto. Scientists didn`t want to call it a planet and came up with a three point law on what constitutes a planet. In a vote at the end of a meeting of the International Astronomical Union, the world governing body for all things to do with space, a vote was held on the law and was passed. The requirement for a planet are :

As Pluto failed the third test, it was no longer considered a planet and demoted. The planet is named after the Roman God of the Underworld. It is not named after the Disney dog of the same name. It was named by Venetia Burney, a British school girl who entered a competition to name it.

The dwarf planet was spotted by Clyde Tombaugh as he scanned photos of the sky looking for any differences in the pictures.

Pluto was the last "planet" to be visited by a space craft but that is all about to change, the N.A.S.A. space probe, New Horizons is currently on route to rendezvous with the "planet" on or about 14th July 2015. New Horizons is the fastest space craft built to explore the outer regions of the space. It took Cassini-Huygens just over three years to reach the orbit of Jupiter, the New Horizons craft took a third of that time.

Disney named its cartoon dog Pluto in honour of the discovery, not the other way round. The planet was not named in any way by Pluto by competition or sponsoring.

Pluto

Pluto had for most of the time it was known was seen as a lonely planet like Mercury and Venus but on the 22nd June 1978, its first moon was discovered by James Christy at the United States Naval Observatory. After New Horizons was launched, its other moons were discovered starting with Nix in 2005. All the moons are named after a connection to the underworld to keep consistent.

There is unlikely to be any lifeforms on Pluto. However, as the Sun grows, it will get bigger and the Goldilocks Zone will move out and one day that zone will encompass Pluto. By the time the zone reaches Pluto, Earth will no longer be able to support life as we know it. Hopefully by that time, humanity has managed to find a way off the planet and living further out than Pluto.

Scientists believe there might be another planet out beyond the orbit of Pluto, a new nineth planet. It is all theory at the moment but one day, we may well find out if there is any large planets out beyond Pluto. There might well be more than just one planet beyond Pluto, may be tens, all too faint to be spotted by telescopes at the present.

It is expected that after Pluto, the New Horizons will visit another Kuiper Belt object if N.A.S.A. can get the continued funding for it. Eris won`t be visited after Pluto as they are in different directions to one another.


Pluto Facts



Position from Sun9th but no longer class as planet, dwarf planet instead
MeaningGod of Death
DiscovererClyde Tombaugh
Discovered1930
Mass0.0125
Equatorial Radius1195
Volumetric Mean Radius1195
Mean Density1750
Surface Acceleration0.58
Orbital Period90560 Days
Length of Day153.282
Average Temperature-50K/-223C
Surface Pressure-3 microbars
Distance from the Sun5870000000km from the Sun.
Orbit Eccentricity0.2444
Volume0.715
Orbit Escape Velocity1.1
Surface Gravity0.58
AtmosphereMethane (CH4), Nitrogen (N2)\n

List of Moons in orbit around Pluto



MoonDiscoveredOrbit Circumference
CharonJune 22, 1978 110,181.80 km
Hydra
Kerberos
Nix
Styx



Add a Comment


Name:
Email: (Optional)
Comment: