Pluto

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Pluto and Charon sharing their energy fields.

 

3,666,000,000 miles from the sun.

Its year is 248 Earth years long.

Its day is 6 Earth days, 9 hours, 18 minutes :

shared wobble rotation with Charon.

Its diameter is 1441.6 miles across, 2/3 the size of Earth's moon.

Its atmosphere is a slight nitrogen-methane mixture.

Its temperature is -350o degrees Fahrenheit

Poor Pluto

Yes, it is true....  Scientists have voted poor Pluto out of the planet line up (in 1995).  But, do not worry, other scientists have voted it back into the solar system in 1999.  So, do we have eight planets?  Pluto is considered too small.  When considering Pluto is only 65% the size of our moon, it seems possible.  And, there are several other moons bigger, as well.  Pluto is now considered an asteroid, or planetoid.  Asteroids are defined as minor planets, so again, it makes sense, but....  Poooooor Pluto.  How come Goofy the dog gets to talk, but Pluto doesn't?  How come Mercury and Jupiter had cars named after them, and not Pluto?  Even Saturn has a whole car company named after it, but not poor Pluto....

Anyway, Pluto is a spectacular asteroid.  He went from being the smallest planet to being the largest asteroid.  Plus, he can be classified as a binary asteroid.  Pluto and its moon circle around each other in a spiral sharing orbit.  It is very beautiful.  Charon, Pluto's moon, is 1270 miles in diameter- nearly the same size as Pluto.  They face each other, always.  As they revolve, the same section of the moon faces the same section of Pluto.  (Very romantic).   Earth's moon also face the same direction towards Earth.  In fact, we never saw the back side of our moon until we sent spaceships up.

Pluto's surface is very icy, and it is barely denser than water.  Pluto's orbit of the sun is also irregular.  It circles the sun in an oval motion.  If fact, as of September 5, 1989, Pluto is closer than Neptune to the sun.  It will remain this way for some time.

 

The asteroid Pluto and its satellite Charon.  Hubble picture.

Hubble picture of Pluto shows surface variances