Last updated on July 8th, 2017 at 10:54 am
Pluto is a dwarf planet and not a full-sized planet. Today, with these 32 facts about Pluto (the first Kuiper Belt object to be discovered,) let us learn more about it.
1. Discovery: Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh.
2. Reclassification: Pluto was reclassified as a Dwarf planet in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union. It is called a dwarf planet because of its small size and lack of enough capability to clear debris and object out of its path around the sun.
3. In 2003, a new object beyond Pluto was discovered by an astronomer — Michael Brown. After the discovery of this new object – Eris – astronomers pondered upon the characteristics that make an object in the sky “a planet”. And they came to a conclusion that Pluto shall be classified as a Dwarf planet henceforth.
4. Called an asteroid: on September 7, 2006, Pluto was assigned the asteroid number 134340 by the Minor Planet Center.
5. Pluto’s gravity: if one weighed 100 pounds on Earth, they would weigh only 7 pounds on Pluto – that’s how weak the planet’s gravity is as compared to that of the Earth.
6. Research: the Hubble Space Telescope is playing a key role in providing interesting and important information about Pluto.
7. Far away: if you compare, the distance between Pluto and the Sun is 40 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun.
8. Kuiper Belt: the orbit of Pluto lies in the Kuiper Belt. There are many other small icy worlds in this region, which are also known as ‘transneptunian objects’ or ‘Kuiper Belt objects.’
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9. Five moons: Pluto has five moons – Charon, Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx.
10. Pluto vs earth’s Moon: Pluto is 2/3rd the diameter of Earth’s moon and its mass is 1/6th the mass of Earth’s moon.
11. Round the Sun: Pluto takes 248 Earth years to revolve around the Sun. This is the longest orbit time among other planets.
12. Elliptical orbit: Pluto has an elliptical orbit and hence when it is closest to the Sun, its ice changes to gaseous form and forms a thin atmosphere over the planet. Charon, the largest moon of Pluto, takes around 6.4 Earth days to complete a revolution around the planet.
13. Day’s length: one day on Pluto is also 6.4 Earth days.
14. One of the moons – Charon: Charon is tidally locked to Pluto, meaning that its same side faces Pluto all the while both the bodies revolve in the outer space.
15. Distance from the Sun: Pluto can be as far as 49.3 AU from the Sun in its elliptical orbit where it takes 248 years to complete a revolution around the Sun.
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