What Do You Know About Pluto?
What is Pluto?
- Pluto is a dwarf planet located in the Kuiper Belt, a region of the solar system beyond the orbit of Neptune. Discovered in 1930, it was long considered to be the ninth planet of our solar system until it was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006.
When was Pluto discovered?
- Pluto was discovered on February 18, 1930, by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Who discovered Pluto?
- Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh, an American astronomer who was hired by the Lowell Observatory in 1929 to search for a ninth planet in the solar system.
What is the diameter of Pluto?
- The diameter of Pluto is approximately 1,477 miles (2,377 km), which is about two-thirds the size of Earth's moon.
What is the largest moon of Pluto?
- The largest moon of Pluto is Charon, which is about half the size of Pluto itself. It was discovered in 1978, and its discovery helped astronomers to refine their estimates of Pluto's mass.
What is the surface temperature of Pluto?
- The surface temperature of Pluto ranges from about -400 to -360 degrees Fahrenheit (-240 to -218 degrees Celsius), making it one of the coldest places in the solar system.
What is the atmosphere of Pluto primarily composed of?
- The atmosphere of Pluto is primarily composed of nitrogen, with small amounts of methane and carbon monoxide. It is very thin, however, with a surface pressure that is only about 1/100,000th of Earth's atmosphere.
What is the average distance of Pluto from the Sun?
- The average distance of Pluto from the Sun is about 3.7 billion miles (5.9 billion kilometers), or 39.5 astronomical units (AU). It takes about 248 Earth years for Pluto to complete one orbit around the Sun.
When was Pluto reclassified from being a planet?
- Pluto was reclassified from a planet to a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 2006. The new definition of a planet required that it must clear its orbit of other debris, which Pluto does not do.
How many known moons does Pluto have?
- Pluto has five known moons: Charon, Nix, Hydra, Kerberos, and Styx. Charon is by far the largest and closest to Pluto, while the other four are much smaller and more distant.