What does this planet look like?
Pluto, long considered the solar system’s ninth planet, was re-classified as a dwarf planet in 2006. It is the solar system’s second largest dwarf planet. It is now classified as the largest object in the Kuiper Belt, a vast area of icy objects controlled by the gravity of Neptune. Because of its distance from Earth, observations of Pluto are difficult to make from Earth. Strong telescopes have revealed that Pluto is brownish with a yellow tint.
How big is this planet?
Pluto is tiny in comparison to the Earth. It possesses less than one percent of the volume of the Earth and is less than one percent as massive. Pluto is smaller than the Earth’s moon.
How long does it take to orbit the sun?
What is its gravity like?
Gravitational force on Pluto is 8 % the gravitational force on Earth. A 100 pound Earthling would weigh about 8 pounds on Pluto.
How far is it from the sun? From the Earth?
Pluto is located an average of 3.67 billion miles from the sun. At its closest point, Earth and Pluto are more than 2.6 billion miles apart. At their farthest, the two planets are more 4.65 billion miles apart.
What is its atmosphere like?
Very little is known about Pluto’s atmosphere. It is probably dominated by nitrogen with smaller amounts of carbon monoxide and methane. As Pluto moves away from the sun, its atmosphere freezes and breaks up.
What’s the temperature like?
Temperatures on Pluto average -393 F.
How many moons does it have?
Pluto has 3 known moons, two of which are extremely small. The largest of its moons, named Charon, is half the size of Pluto. Charon orbits Pluto at a a distance of less than 12,000 miles. The other two moons of Pluto are named Nix and Hydra.
* Pluto is less massive than at least seven moons that orbit the inner eight planets.
* Pluto’s orbit is highly eccentric, meaning it is not as circular (more elliptical) as the orbits of most planets. As a result, Pluto occasionally orbits closer to the sun that Neptune. This phenomena occurred between 1979 and 1999.