Sunday, April 18, 2010

Facts About Pluto

Pluto is the smallest planet in the Solar System, smaller than Earth’s Moon, and half the width of Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede. Pluto’s journey around the Sun takes 248 Earth years. This means that, since its discovery in 1930, it still has 177 years to go until it has made a complete orbit around the Sun. Nobody knows what Pluto’s atmosphere contains, or even if it has an atmosphere. Any atmosphere is most likely to contain nitrogen. Pluto was the only planet to have been discovered in the Twentieth Century. Pluto is the only planet in the Solar System not to have been visited by a space probe. Pluto’s orbit is elliptical, meaning that it can come closer to the Sun than Neptune, but then go almost two billion kilometres further away from Neptune’s orbit. In the picture below, you can see Pluto’s orbit (in grey) and Neptune’s orbit (in blue). Pluto orbits the Sun on a different plain than the other 8 planets, going over them and below them. Pluto has one moon, Charon, which is not much smaller than Pluto itself. No other moon is as close to the size of its planet as Charon is to Pluto. (Pluto is 2,280 kilometres wide, Charon is 1,212 kilometres wide). A day on Pluto lasts for 6 days and 9 hours, meaning that it has the second slowest speed of rotation in the Solar System (after Venus, which takes 243 days to turn on its axis). Pluto’s orbit is elliptical, meaning that it can come closer to the Sun than Neptune, but then go almost two billion kilometres further away from Neptune’s orbit. Pluto is too faint to be seen with the naked eye. When viewed through a telescope, it looks like a star. Pluto is cold: -233° C (-390° F), just 40° C (72° F) above absolute zero. At this temperature, all elements would be frozen but neon, hydrogen, and helium.
  • The Planet is discovered in 1930, which is the smallest and distant.
  • You cannot see it with your naked eyes, telescope is required to the planet. And even with telescope you will only see the star like object in the sky. It looks yellowish-brown.
  • The Atmosphere on the Pluto is very cold. When Pluto is away from the sun the atmosphere get frozen and when close the temperature gets increased and frozen methane, Nitrogen, Carbon dioxide melts away.
  • The surface temperature of the planet is very cold between –235 and –210 degree C.
  • The orbit of the Pluto is very different from any other planet in the solar system. It is far from the circular of other planets. Sometimes it also gets closer to the sun than the Neptune. This happens after every 288 years.
  • Though the orbits of Neptune and Plato cross each other, these two planets cannot collide.
  • The rotational period of Pluto is 6.5 days and orbital period very eccentric i.e. 90,613 days.
  • The Diameter is 2340 km and the density is less than half of the earth.
  • The distance of planet from the sun is 39.5 times the distance of earth to the sun.
  • No spacecraft has been sent as yet, "New Horizon" by NASA has been launched to reach in 2015 although.
  • Charon, Nix and Hydra are the moons of the planet. Charon is biggest and other two small. James W. Christy discovered Charon. Both Caron and Pluto are tidally locked to each other. They are always faced to each other.
  • Before 2006 Pluto was considered as the ninth planet of the solar system but after discovery of similar objects nearby it is included in new category "Dwarf Planets". It has been numbered 134340.

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