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Pluto


 

 

    This planet was not known to the ancient but was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930.  With our telescopes, Pluto appears as a small dim star.  Not terribly impressive.  There are also debates as to whether or not Pluto should be considered a planet: it is smaller than the moon and its orbit does not lie in the same plane as the rest of the planets' orbits.  In the later 20th century, two more Pluto-like objects were found: Sedna and Quaoar.

 

Mass -- 1.3 x 1022 kg   (0.0022 earth masses)

 

Radius -- 715 mi   (1,151 km or 0.180 earth radii)

 

Distance from the sun (average) -- 3,670,050,000 mi   (5,906,380,000 km or 39.482 AU)

 

Gravity -- 2.7 ft/sq. sec   (0.81 m/sq. sec)

    An adult weighing 140 lbs on Earth would weigh 12 lbs on Pluto.

 

Maximum surface temperature -- -369 F (below zero)

 

Minimum surface temperature -- -387 F (below zero)

 

Orbital velocity -- 10,623 mph   (17,096 km/hr or 0.425 earth speed)

 

Orbital eccentricity -- 0.2488

    This is how off-circular the moon's orbit around the Earth is.  An eccentricity of 0.00 would be a perfect circle.  An eccentricity of nearly 1 would be a very flattened oval.  For a fun project on ellipses and eccentricity, click here.

 

Sidereal rotation -- 153.3 hr   (6.4 earth days)

    A day on Pluto would be equivalent to around 6 1/2 Earth days.

 

Sidereal orbit -- 2,173,272 hr   (90,553 earth days or 247.9 earth years)

    A year on Pluto would take just under 248 Earth years.

 

Moons -- Charon

 

 

For more information on Pluto, please visit SEDS' website http://www.nineplanets.org/pluto.html and NASA's website http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Pluto&Display=Overview.  Both websites are wonderful resources. 

 

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Website last updated March 16,  2006.  Hosted by Anthony Watts, KMXI Radio.  Webmasters Tiara Norris and Brendan Diamond.