Advertisement

Pluto

Advertisement

Pluto , the planet that was once considered the ninth and most distant planet from the sun , is now the largest known dwarf planet within the solar system. It is also one of the largest known members of the Kuiper Belt , a shadowy area beyond Neptune’s orbit believed to be populated by hundreds of thousands of rocky and icy bodies each more than 100 kilometers wide, along with 1 billion or more comets.

Advertisement
  • Distance to the sun:  5,934 billion kilometers
  • Gravity:  0.6 m / s²
  • Day length:  153 hours
  • Orbital period: 248 years

What is Pluto?

It is a planet in our Solar System considered as a dwarf planet which is located after the orbit of Neptune , whose name is due to the Roman mythological god Hades , according to Greek history.

Advertisement

Pluto characteristics:

The most important characteristics of Pluto are the following:

Advertisement
  • It is 2,370 km in diameter – less than one-fifth the diameter of Earth, and only about two-thirds larger than Earth’s moon.
  • It has mountains that reach up to 3,500 meters, similar to the Rocky Mountains on Earth.
  • Scientists suspect that mountains are formed on a bedrock of water ice.
  • Its surface  is covered by methane ice .
  • It has an icy ridge terrain that is very similar to a snakeskin.
  • It has characteristics similar to the slopes of the Earth, or characteristics formed by erosion in mountainous terrain .
  • It has a large heart-shaped region known unofficially as Tombaugh
  • It has frozen plains a few kilometers long aligned in the same direction.
  • The surface of Pluto is one of the coldest places in the solar system , to about minus 225 degrees Celsius.

Story:

In 1930 the American Clyde William Tombaugh made the discovery of Pluto. Tombaugh was a person fond of astronomy , but due to lack of resources he had not been able to continue with his studies in astronomy. However, he was able to start a job at the Observatory founded by astronomer Percival Lowell in Arizona, where he made his discovery. This discovery earned Tombaugh great recognition within the scientific community and a scholarship to pursue his long-awaited studies. It was considered a planet until 2006 when the International Astronomical Union included it in the category of planets.dwarfs .

Composition:

Some of the parameters of Pluto, according to NASA are the following:

It is a planet that is probably made up of a mixture of 70 percent rock and 30 percent water ice . In its internal structure it has a rocky core surrounded by a mantle of water ice, with more exotic ices such as methane , carbon monoxide and nitrogen ice that cover the surface.

Pluto’s atmosphere:

The planet is made up of methane , carbon monoxide that freezes, and nitrogen . New Horizons observations show that Pluto’s atmosphere extends up to 1,600 km above the surface of the dwarf planet.

Satellites:

Pluto has five moons:Charon , Styx , Nix , Kerberos, and Hydra , with Charon being the closest and Hydra the most distant. In 1978, astronomers discovered that it had a very large moon almost half the size of the dwarf planet. This moon was called Charon, in honor of the mythological demon that transported souls to the underworld in Greek mythology .

Both Pluto and Charon orbit a point in space that lies between them, similar to the orbits of binary star systems . For this reason, scientists refer to Pluto and Charon as a double dwarf planet, double planet, or binary system .

Rotation and translation:

If we compare a day on Pluto we will know that it is too long compared to the Earth day. Its rotation period is 6.38721 Earth days . A day of Pluto coincides with the period of translation of its satellite Charon , in such a way that both always present the same face.

With respect to the translation period, the year or sidereal period of Pluto lasts 248.54 Earth years . This is equal to 90,777 Earth days and 14,212 Plutonian days. Its average orbital speed is very slow and is only 4.74 kilometers per second.

Magnetic field:

Whether or not Pluto has a magnetic field is actually unknown . Some scientists believe this could be possible due to the tidal forces resulting from its double orbit with the moon Charon.Pluto temperature

Being located at an average distance from the Sun of approximately 5,900,000,000 kilometers, Pluto can register minimum temperatures of up to -240ºC and maximum temperatures of only -218ºC .

Curiosities:

In 2006, it was reclassified as a dwarf planet , a change widely viewed by scientists as a degradation the planet underwent. The state of the planet Pluto has attracted controversy and sparked debate in the scientific community, and the general public , ever since. In 2017, a scientific group that included members of the New Horizon mission proposed a new definition of a planet based on “round objects in space smaller than stars.”

It is named after 11-year-old Venetia Burney of Oxford, England, who suggested to her grandfather that the new world is named after the Roman god of the underworld . His grandfather later passed the name on to the Lowell Observatory . The name also honors Percival Lowell , whose initials are the first two letters of Pluto.

Leave a Comment