Pluto is a dwarf planet, and it had this title from the year 2006. Even though it is still considered a planet, Pluto has only 70% the diameter and 0.17 the mass of the moon. But what other interesting things are known about Pluto?
Pluto was discovered in the year 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh. It orbits around the sun at a distance of approx. 5.9 billion km (3.7 billion miles), and a year on Pluto is equivalent to 248 years on Earth.
Pluto has 5 moons: Charon, Hydra, Nix, Kerberos, and Styx. Charon is the biggest one, with a diameter of 1.212 kilometers, which is half of the diameter of Pluto. The New Horizon Spacecraft, that was launched in 2006, flew near Pluto on 14 of July 2015 and took the first ever picture of Pluto.
Did you know that a third of Pluto is composed of water? Even though it is in its solid form, Pluto’s waters can fill Earth’s oceans 3 times. It also an atmosphere. As Space Facts says “When Pluto elliptical orbit takes it closer to the Sun, its surface ice thaws and forms a thin atmosphere primarily of nitrogen which slowly escapes the planet. It also has a methane haze that covers about 161 kilometers above the surface.”
It was believed that Pluto was once a moon of Neptune, but this idea was rejected after studies have proved that Pluto never approaches Neptune in its orbit. Because Pluto’s orbit is elliptical, there are times when Pluto is closer to the Sun than Neptune. The latest event of this type happened between 1979 and 1999.
Pluto is now a forgotten planet, but who knows? Maybe in the future, its title will be restored…
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed!