What is Pluto?

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What is Pluto?
What is Pluto?

Properties, size and year of discovery of the dwarf planet Pluto. Why Pluto stopped referring to planets. What is this object from the point of view of astronomy, photographs In February 1930 of the last century, the American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered the ninth planet. Searches for this space object have been going on since the beginning of the century and were calculated theoretically, but they did not succeed so easily.

The planet Pluto (134340 Pluto) is located at a considerable distance from the Earth. Its distance from the center of the solar system is constantly changing: from 4 to 7 billion kilometers. This is due to the small size of Pluto itself and the huge influence on it by massive objects of the entire system as a whole. As you know, at present Pluto no longer belongs to the category of a planet: in 2006, the International Astronomical Union decided to remove the "title" of the planet from this celestial object.

What is Pluto

So, Pluto - a small body of the solar system, consisting of various rocks covered with an ice shell. It should be noted that Pluto differs from almost all objects in the system.

  • Firstly, it does not fall into any category of planets: it is smaller and lighter than any planet. In addition, it is even smaller than any satellite of the planets, including the Moon.
  • Secondly, in terms of its structure, it also cannot belong to any of the categories of the known terrestrial planets and giant planets. It is known that the terrestrial planets consist of a hard shell, which includes rocks and various metals. The giant planets, in turn, consist of a solid core and an extensive shell of gas. Pluto has a slightly different structure (described above).
  • Thirdly, the speed of rotation around the axis is too low for such a small planet. All these facts make Pluto a mysterious object located somewhere in the outskirts of our solar system.
Pluto dimensions

Pluto can only be seen from Earth with a very powerful telescope. It is so small that it cannot be seen with the naked eye, or even with an amateur telescope! Its surface area is comparable to the area of ​​a country like Russia (the equatorial radius is only 1195 km). However, for astronomical scales, these are negligible sizes. In addition, its distance from the Sun is so great that at the farthest point of its orbit it can be seen as some kind of distant bright star. This picture resembles a frosty moonlit night, when the Moon illuminates the snowy surface with its dim light, but does not warm it at all.

An interesting fact is that freezing temperatures on Pluto reach 230 degrees below zero. It is so cold that its insignificant and rather rarefied atmosphere freezes and falls to the surface in the form of crystals, which, with the onset of the Pluto spring, again turn into "air", consisting mainly of nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide.

So, all that we know about this distant object of our system of planets is what we have been receiving in images with the most powerful ground and space telescopes for more than 80 years. Never before in the history of astronautics has a spacecraft reached Pluto: so far is it located according to our earthly space standards. However, such a meeting will take place in the near future - the American spacecraft "New Horizons" will reach this remote corner of outer space and reveal to us the secret curtains of this mysterious object at the edge of the solar system.

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