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Pluto

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Pluto(minorplanetdesignation:134340Pluto)isadwarfplanetintheKuiperbelt,aringof
Pluto
bodiesbeyondNeptune.[11]ItwasthefirstKuiperbeltobjecttobediscovered.

PlutowasdiscoveredbyClydeTombaughin1930andwasoriginallyconsideredtobetheninth
planetfromtheSun.After1992,itsplanethoodwasquestionedfollowingthediscoveryof
severalobjectsofsimilarsizeintheKuiperbelt.In2005,Eris,whichis27%moremassivethan
Pluto,wasdiscovered.ThisledtheInternationalAstronomicalUnion(IAU)todefinetheterm
"planet"formallyin2006,duringtheir26thGeneralAssembly.[12]ThatdefinitionexcludedPluto
andreclassifieditasadwarfplanet.[13]

PlutoisthelargestandsecondmostmassiveknowndwarfplanetintheSolarSystemandthe
ninthlargestandtenthmostmassiveknownobjectdirectlyorbitingtheSun.Itisthelargest
knowntransNeptunianobjectbyvolumebutislessmassivethanEris,adwarfplanetinthe
scattereddisc.LikeotherKuiperbeltobjects,Plutoisprimarilymadeoficeandrock[14]andis
relativelysmallaboutonesixththemassoftheMoonandonethirditsvolume.Ithasa
moderatelyeccentricandinclinedorbitduringwhichitrangesfrom30to49astronomicalunits
orAU(4.47.4billionkm)fromtheSun.ThismeansthatPlutoperiodicallycomesclosertothe
SunthanNeptune,butastableorbitalresonancewithNeptunepreventsthemfromcolliding. FulldiscviewofPlutoinneartruecolor,imagedby
LightfromtheSuntakesabout5.5hourstoreachPlutoatitsaveragedistance(39.5AU). NewHorizons[a]
Discovery
Plutohasfiveknownmoons:Charon(thelargest,withadiameterjustoverhalfthatofPluto),
Styx,Nix,Kerberos,andHydra.[15]PlutoandCharonaresometimesconsideredabinarysystem Discoveredby ClydeW.Tombaugh

becausethebarycenteroftheirorbitsdoesnotliewithineitherbody.[16]TheIAUhasnot Discoverydate February18,1930


formalizedadefinitionforbinarydwarfplanets,andCharonisofficiallyclassifiedasamoonof Designations
Pluto.[17] MPCdesignation 134340Pluto
InSeptember2016,astronomersannouncedthatthereddishbrowncapofthenorthpoleof Pronunciation i
/pluto/
Charoniscomposedoftholins,organicmacromoleculesthatmaybeingredientsforthe
Namedafter Pluto
emergenceoflife,andproducedfrommethane,nitrogenandrelatedgasesreleasedfromthe
atmosphereofPlutoandtransferredoverabout19,000km(12,000mi)distancetotheorbiting Minorplanet Dwarfplanet
category TransNeptunianobject
moon.[18]
Plutoid
OnJuly14,2015,theNewHorizonsspacecraftbecamethefirstspacecrafttoflyby Kuiperbeltobject
Pluto.[19][20][21]Duringitsbriefflyby,NewHorizonsmadedetailedmeasurementsand Plutino
observationsofPlutoanditsmoons.[11][22][23][24]OnOctober25,2016,at05:48pmET,thelast Adjectives Plutonian
bitofdata(ofatotalof50billionbitsofdataor6.25gigabytes)wasreceivedfromNew
Orbitalcharacteristics[3][b]
HorizonsfromitscloseencounterwithPlutoonJuly14,2015.[25]
EpochJ2000
Aphelion 49.305AU
Contents (7,375.93Gm)
February,2114
1 History Perihelion 29.658AU
1.1 Discovery
1.2 Name (4,436.82Gm)[1]
1.3 PlanetXdisproved (September5,1989)[2]
1.4 Classification Semimajoraxis 39.48AU
1.4.1 IAUclassification
2 Orbit (5,906.38Gm)
2.1 RelationshipwithNeptune Eccentricity 0.2488
2.1.1 Otherfactors
Orbitalperiod 248.00years[1]
2.2 Quasisatellite
3 Rotation 90,560d[1]
4 Geology
Synodicperiod 366.73days[1]
4.1 Surface
4.2 Internalstructure Averageorbital 4.67km/s[1]
5 Massandsize speed
6 Atmosphere Meananomaly 14.53deg
7 Satellites
8 Origin Inclination 17.16
9 Observationandexploration (11.88toSun'sequator)
9.1 Observation
Longitudeof 110.299
9.2 Exploration ascendingnode
10 Gallery
10.1 Videos Argumentof 113.834
perihelion
11 Seealso
12 Notes Knownsatellites 5
13 References
14 Furtherreading Physicalcharacteristics
15 Externallinks
Meanradius 1,187 4km[4]
0.1863Earths

History Flattening <1%[4]


Surfacearea 1.77 107km2[c]
Discovery 0.035Earths

Inthe1840s,UrbainLeVerrierusedNewtonianmechanicstopredictthepositionofthethen Volume (7.006 0.071) 109km3[d]


undiscoveredplanetNeptuneafteranalysingperturbationsintheorbitofUranus.[26]Subsequent 0.006 47Earths
observationsofNeptuneinthelate19thcenturyledastronomerstospeculatethatUranus'sorbit Mass (1.303 0.003) 1022kg[4]
wasbeingdisturbedbyanotherplanetbesidesNeptune.
0.00218Earths
In1906,PercivalLowellawealthyBostonianwhohadfoundedLowellObservatoryin 0.177Moons
Flagstaff,Arizona,in1894startedanextensiveprojectinsearchofapossibleninthplanet, Meandensity 1.860 0.013g/cm3[4]
whichhetermed"PlanetX".[27]By1909,LowellandWilliamH.Pickeringhadsuggested
Surfacegravity 0.620m/s2[e]
severalpossiblecelestialcoordinatesforsuchaplanet.[28]Lowellandhisobservatoryconducted
hissearchuntilhisdeathin1916,buttonoavail.UnknowntoLowell,hissurveyshadcaptured 0.063g
twofaintimagesofPlutoonMarch19andApril7,1915,buttheywerenotrecognizedforwhat Escapevelocity 1.212km/s[f]
theywere.[28][29]Therearefourteenotherknownprediscoveryobservations,withtheoldest Siderealrotation 6.387 230d
madebytheYerkesObservatoryonAugust20,1909.[30] period 6d,9h,17m,36s

Percival'swidow,ConstanceLowell,enteredintoatenyearlegalbattlewiththeLowell Equatorial 47.18km/h


rotationvelocity
Observatoryoverherlatehusband'slegacy,andthesearchforPlanetXdidnotresumeuntil
1929.[31]VestoMelvinSlipher,theobservatorydirector,summarilyhandedthejoboflocating Axialtilt 122.53(toorbit)[1]
PlanetXto23yearoldClydeTombaugh,whohadjustarrivedattheobservatoryafterSlipher Northpole 132.993[5]
hadbeenimpressedbyasampleofhisastronomicaldrawings.[31] rightascension
Northpole 6.163[5]
Tombaugh'staskwastosystematicallyimagethenightskyinpairsofphotographs,thenexamine declination
eachpairanddeterminewhetheranyobjectshadshiftedposition.Usingablinkcomparator,he
Albedo 0.49to0.66(geometric,variesby
rapidlyshiftedbackandforthbetweenviewsofeachoftheplatestocreatetheillusionof
movementofanyobjectsthathadchangedpositionorappearancebetweenphotographs.On 35%)[1][6]
February18,1930,afternearlyayearofsearching,Tombaughdiscoveredapossiblemoving Surfacetemp. min mean max
objectonphotographicplatestakenonJanuary23and29ofthatyear.Alesserquality Kelvin 33K 44K(229C) 55K
photographtakenonJanuary21helpedconfirmthemovement.[32]Aftertheobservatory Apparent 13.65[1]to16.3[7]
obtainedfurtherconfirmatoryphotographs,newsofthediscoverywastelegraphedtothe magnitude
(meanis15.1)[1]
HarvardCollegeObservatoryonMarch13,1930.[28]
Absolute 0.7[8]
magnitude(H)
Name
Angular 0.06to0.11[1][g]
diameter
Thediscoverymadeheadlinesaroundtheglobe.LowellObservatory,whichhadtherightto
namethenewobject,receivedmorethan1,000suggestionsfromallovertheworld,ranging Atmosphere
fromAtlastoZymal.[33]TombaughurgedSliphertosuggestanameforthenewobjectquickly Surfacepressure 1.0Pa(2015)[4][10]
beforesomeoneelsedid.[33]ConstanceLowellproposedZeus,thenPercivalandfinally Compositionby Nitrogen,methane,carbon
Constance.Thesesuggestionsweredisregarded.[34] volume monoxide[9]
ThenamePluto,afterthegodoftheunderworld,was
proposedbyVenetiaBurney(19182009),athenelevenyearold
schoolgirlinOxford,England,whowasinterestedinclassical
mythology.[35]Shesuggesteditinaconversationwithher
grandfatherFalconerMadan,aformerlibrarianattheUniversity
ofOxford'sBodleianLibrary,whopassedthenametoastronomy
professorHerbertHallTurner,whocabledittocolleaguesinthe
UnitedStates.[35]
DiscoveryphotographsofPluto
EachmemberoftheLowellObservatorywasallowedtovoteon
ashortlistofthreepotentialnames:Minerva(whichwasalreadythe
nameforanasteroid),Cronus(whichhadlostreputationthroughbeing
proposedbytheunpopularastronomerThomasJeffersonJacksonSee),
andPluto.Plutoreceivedeveryvote.[36]Thenamewasannouncedon
May1,1930.[35][37]Upontheannouncement,MadangaveVenetia5 MosaicofbestresolutionimagesofPlutofrom
differentangles
(equivalentto300GBP,or450USDin2014)[38]asareward.[35]

ThefinalchoiceofnamewashelpedinpartbythefactthatthefirsttwolettersofPlutoaretheinitialsofPercivalLowell.
Pluto'sastronomicalsymbol( ,UnicodeU+2647,)wasthencreatedasamonogramconstructedfromtheletters
"PL".[39]Pluto'sastrologicalsymbolresemblesthatofNeptune( ),buthasacircleinplaceofthemiddleprongofthe
ClydeTombaugh,in trident( ).
Kansas
Thenamewassoonembracedbywiderculture.In1930,WaltDisneywasapparentlyinspiredbyitwhenheintroducedforMickeyMouseacanine
companionnamedPluto,althoughDisneyanimatorBenSharpsteencouldnotconfirmwhythenamewasgiven.[40]In1941,GlennT.Seaborgnamed
thenewlycreatedelementplutoniumafterPluto,inkeepingwiththetraditionofnamingelementsafternewlydiscoveredplanets,followinguranium,
whichwasnamedafterUranus,andneptunium,whichwasnamedafterNeptune.[41]

Mostlanguagesusethename"Pluto"invarioustransliterations.[h]InJapanese,HoueiNojirisuggestedthetranslationMeisei( ? ,"Starofthe
King(God)oftheUnderworld"),andthiswasborrowedintoChinese,Korean,andVietnamese.[42][43][44]SomeIndianlanguagesusethenamePluto,
butothers,suchasHindi,usethenameofYama,theGodofDeathinHinduandBuddhistmythology.[43]Polynesianlanguagesalsotendtousethe
indigenousgodoftheunderworld,asinMaoriWhiro.[43]

PlanetXdisproved

OncePlutowasfound,itsfaintnessandlackofaresolvabledisccastdoubtontheideathatitwasLowell'sPlanetX.[27]EstimatesofPluto'smass
werereviseddownwardthroughoutthe20thcentury.[45]

Astronomersinitiallycalculateditsmassbasedonitspresumedeffecton
NeptuneandUranus.In1931,Plutowascalculatedtoberoughlythemassof MassestimatesforPluto
Earth,withfurthercalculationsin1948bringingthemassdowntoroughlythat Year Mass Estimateby
ofMars.[47][49]In1976,DaleCruikshank,CarlPilcherandDavidMorrisonofthe 1915 7Earth Lowell(predictionforPlanetX)[27]
UniversityofHawaiicalculatedPluto'salbedoforthefirsttime,findingthatit
matchedthatformethaneicethismeantPlutohadtobeexceptionallyluminous
1931 1Earth Nicholson&Mayall[46][47][48]
foritssizeandthereforecouldnotbemorethan1percentthemassofEarth.[50] 1948 0.1(1/10)Earth Kuiper[49]
(Pluto'salbedois1.41.9timesthatofEarth.[1]) 1976 0.01(1/100)Earth Cruikshank,Pilcher,&Morrison[50]
1978 0.0015(1/650)Earth Christy&Harrington [51]
In1978,thediscoveryofPluto'smoonCharonallowedthemeasurementof
Pluto'smassforthefirsttime:roughly0.2%thatofEarth,andfartoosmallto 2006 0.00218(1/459)Earth Buieetal.[52]
accountforthediscrepanciesintheorbitofUranus.Subsequentsearchesforan
alternativePlanetX,notablybyRobertSuttonHarrington,[53]failed.In1992,
MylesStandishuseddatafromVoyager2'sflybyofNeptunein1989,whichhadrevisedtheestimatesofNeptune'smassdownwardby0.5%an
amountcomparabletothemassofMarstorecalculateitsgravitationaleffectonUranus.Withthenewfiguresaddedin,thediscrepancies,andwith
themtheneedforaPlanetX,vanished.[54]Today,themajorityofscientistsagreethatPlanetX,asLowelldefinedit,doesnotexist.[55]Lowellhad
madeapredictionofPlanetX'sorbitandpositionin1915thatwasfairlyclosetoPluto'sactualorbitanditspositionatthattimeErnestW.Brown
concludedsoonafterPluto'sdiscoverythatthiswasacoincidence,[56]aviewstillheldtoday.[54]

Classification

From1992onward,manybodieswerediscoveredorbitinginthesameareaasPluto,showing
thatPlutoispartofapopulationofobjectscalledtheKuiperbelt.Thismadeitsofficialstatusas
aplanetcontroversial,withmanyquestioningwhetherPlutoshouldbeconsideredtogetherwith
orseparatelyfromitssurroundingpopulation.Museumandplanetariumdirectorsoccasionally
createdcontroversybyomittingPlutofromplanetarymodelsoftheSolarSystem.TheHayden
PlanetariumreopenedinFebruary2000,afterrenovationwithamodelofonlyeightplanets,
whichmadeheadlinesalmostayearlater.[57]

AsobjectsincreasinglycloserinsizetoPlutowerediscoveredintheregion,itwasarguedthat
PlutoshouldbereclassifiedasoneoftheKuiperbeltobjects,justasCeres,Pallas,Junoand
Vestaeventuallylosttheirplanetstatusafterthediscoveryofmanyotherasteroids.OnJuly29,
2005,astronomersatCaltechannouncedthediscoveryofanewtransNeptunianobject,Eris,
whichwassubstantiallymoremassivethanPlutoandthemostmassiveobjectdiscoveredinthe
SolarSystemsinceTritonin1846.Itsdiscoverersandthepressinitiallycalleditthetenthplanet, ArtisticcomparisonofPluto,Eris,Makemake,
Haumea,Sedna,2007OR10,Quaoar,Orcus,and
althoughtherewasnoofficialconsensusatthetimeonwhethertocallitaplanet.[58]Othersin
theastronomicalcommunityconsideredthediscoverythestrongestargumentforreclassifying EarthalongwiththeMoon.

Plutoasaminorplanet.[59]

IAUclassification

ThedebatecametoaheadonAugust24,2006,withanIAUresolutionthatcreatedanofficialdefinitionfortheterm"planet".Accordingtothis
resolution,therearethreeconditionsforanobjectintheSolarSystemtobeconsideredaplanet:

1.TheobjectmustbeinorbitaroundtheSun.
2.Theobjectmustbemassiveenoughtoberoundedbyitsowngravity.Morespecifically,itsowngravityshouldpullitintoashapedefinedby
hydrostaticequilibrium.
3.Itmusthaveclearedtheneighborhoodarounditsorbit.[60][61]

Plutofailstomeetthethirdcondition,becauseitsmassisonly0.07timesthatofthemassoftheotherobjectsinitsorbit(Earth'smass,bycontrast,is
1.7milliontimestheremainingmassinitsownorbit).[59][61]TheIAUfurtherdecidedthatbodiesthat,likePluto,meetcriteria1and2butdonotmeet
criterion3wouldbecalleddwarfplanets.OnSeptember13,2006,theIAUincludedPluto,andErisanditsmoonDysnomia,intheirMinorPlanet
Catalogue,givingthemtheofficialminorplanetdesignations"(134340)Pluto","(136199)Eris",and"(136199)ErisIDysnomia".[62]HadPlutobeen
includeduponitsdiscoveryin1930,itwouldhavelikelybeendesignated1164,following1163Saga,whichwasdiscoveredamonthearlier.[63]
Therehasbeensomeresistancewithintheastronomicalcommunitytowardthereclassification.[64][65][66]AlanStern,principalinvestigatorwith
NASA'sNewHorizonsmissiontoPluto,publiclyderidedtheIAUresolution,statingthat"thedefinitionstinks,fortechnicalreasons".[67]Stern's
contentionwasthat,bythetermsofthenewdefinition,Earth,Mars,Jupiter,andNeptune,allofwhichsharetheirorbitswithasteroids,wouldbe
excluded.[68]Hearguedthatallbigsphericalmoons,includingtheMoon,shouldlikewisebeconsideredplanets.[69]Hisotherclaimwasthatbecause
lessthanfivepercentofastronomersvotedforit,thedecisionwasnotrepresentativeoftheentireastronomicalcommunity.[68]MarcW.Buie,thenat
theLowellObservatory,voicedhisopiniononthenewdefinitiononhiswebsiteandpetitionedagainstthedefinition.[70]Othershavesupportedthe
IAU.MikeBrown,theastronomerwhodiscoveredEris,said"throughthiswholecrazycircuslikeprocedure,somehowtherightanswerwas
stumbledon.It'sbeenalongtimecoming.Scienceisselfcorrectingeventually,evenwhenstrongemotionsareinvolved."[71]

PublicreceptiontotheIAUdecisionwasmixed.Althoughmanyacceptedthereclassification,somesoughttooverturnthedecisionwithonline
petitionsurgingtheIAUtoconsiderreinstatement.AresolutionintroducedbysomemembersoftheCaliforniaStateAssemblyfacetiouslycalledthe
IAUdecisiona"scientificheresy".[72]TheNewMexicoHouseofRepresentativespassedaresolutioninhonorofTombaugh,alongtimeresidentof
thatstate,thatdeclaredthatPlutowillalwaysbeconsideredaplanetwhileinNewMexicanskiesandthatMarch13,2007,wasPlutoPlanet
Day.[73][74]TheIllinoisSenatepassedasimilarresolutionin2009,onthebasisthatClydeTombaugh,thediscovererofPluto,wasborninIllinois.The
resolutionassertedthatPlutowas"unfairlydowngradedtoa'dwarf'planet"bytheIAU.[75]Somemembersofthepublichavealsorejectedthe
change,citingthedisagreementwithinthescientificcommunityontheissue,orforsentimentalreasons,maintainingthattheyhavealwaysknown
PlutoasaplanetandwillcontinuetodosoregardlessoftheIAUdecision.[76]

In2006,inits17thannualwordsoftheyearvote,theAmericanDialectSocietyvotedplutoedasthewordoftheyear.To"pluto"isto"demoteor
devaluesomeoneorsomething".[77]

ResearchersonbothsidesofthedebategatheredonAugust1416,2008,attheJohnsHopkinsUniversityAppliedPhysicsLaboratoryfora
conferencethatincludedbacktobacktalksonthecurrentIAUdefinitionofaplanet.[78]Entitled"TheGreatPlanetDebate",[79]theconference
publishedapostconferencepressreleaseindicatingthatscientistscouldnotcometoaconsensusaboutthedefinitionofplanet.[80]Justbeforethe
conference,onJune11,2008,theIAUannouncedinapressreleasethattheterm"plutoid"wouldhenceforthbeusedtorefertoPlutoandother
objectsthathaveanorbitalsemimajoraxisgreaterthanthatofNeptuneandenoughmasstobeofnearsphericalshape.[81][82][83]

Orbit
Pluto'sorbitalperiodis248years.Itsorbitalcharacteristicsaresubstantiallydifferentfromthoseoftheplanets,whichfollownearlycircularorbits
aroundtheSunclosetoaflatreferenceplanecalledtheecliptic.Incontrast,Pluto'sorbitismoderatelyinclinedrelativetotheecliptic(over17)and
moderatelyeccentric(elliptical).ThiseccentricitymeansasmallregionofPluto'sorbitliesnearertheSunthanNeptune's.ThePlutoCharon
barycentercametoperiheliononSeptember5,1989,[2][i]andwaslastclosertotheSunthanNeptunebetweenFebruary7,1979,andFebruary11,
1999.[84]

Inthelongterm,Pluto'sorbitischaotic.Althoughcomputersimulationscanbeusedtopredictitspositionforseveralmillionyears(bothforwardand
backwardintime),afterintervalslongerthantheLyapunovtimeof1020millionyears,calculationsbecomespeculative:Plutoissensitiveto
immeasurablysmalldetailsoftheSolarSystem,hardtopredictfactorsthatwillgraduallychangePluto'spositioninitsorbit.[85][86]

RelationshipwithNeptune

DespitePluto'sorbitappearingtocrossthatofNeptunewhenviewedfromdirectlyabove,thetwoobjects'orbitsarealignedsothattheycannever
collideorevenapproachclosely.Thereareseveralreasonswhy.

Atthesimplestlevel,onecanexaminethetwoorbitsandseethattheydonotintersect.WhenPlutoisclosesttotheSun,andhenceclosestto
Neptune'sorbitasviewedfromabove,itisalsothefarthestaboveNeptune'spath.Pluto'sorbitpassesabout8AUabovethatofNeptune,preventinga
collision.[87][88][89]Pluto'sascendinganddescendingnodes,thepointsatwhichitsorbitcrossestheecliptic,arecurrentlyseparatedfromNeptune'sby
over21.[90]

ThisaloneisnotenoughtoprotectPlutoperturbationsfromtheplanets(especiallyNeptune)couldalteraspectsofPluto'sorbit(suchasitsorbital
precession)overmillionsofyearssothatacollisioncouldbepossible.Someothermechanismormechanismsmustthereforebeatwork.Themost
significantoftheseisthatPlutoliesinthe2:3meanmotionresonancewithNeptune:foreverytwoorbitsthatPlutomakesaroundtheSun,Neptune
makesthree.Thetwoobjectsthenreturntotheirinitialpositionsandthecyclerepeats,eachcyclelastingabout500years.Thispatternissuchthat,in
each500yearcycle,thefirsttimePlutoisnearperihelion,Neptuneisover50behindPluto.ByPluto'ssecondperihelion,Neptunewillhave
completedafurtheroneandahalfofitsownorbits,andsowillbeasimilardistanceaheadofPluto.PlutoandNeptune'sminimumseparationisover
17AU,whichisgreaterthanPluto'sminimumseparationfromUranus(11AU).[89]

The2:3resonancebetweenthetwobodiesishighlystable,andispreservedovermillionsofyears.[91]Thispreventstheirorbitsfromchanging
relativetooneanotherthecyclealwaysrepeatsinthesameway,andsothetwobodiescanneverpassneareachother.Thus,evenifPluto'sorbit
werenotinclined,thetwobodiescouldnevercollide.[89]

Otherfactors

Numericalstudieshaveshownthatoverperiodsofmillionsofyears,thegeneralnatureofthealignmentbetweentheorbitsofPlutoandNeptunedoes
notchange.[87][92]Thereareseveralotherresonancesandinteractionsthatgovernthedetailsoftheirrelativemotion,andenhancePluto'sstability.
Theseariseprincipallyfromtwoadditionalmechanisms(besidesthe2:3meanmotionresonance).
First,Pluto'sargumentofperihelion,theanglebetweenthepointwhereitcrossestheeclipticandthepoint
whereitisclosesttotheSun,libratesaround90.[92]ThismeansthatwhenPlutoisclosesttotheSun,itisat
itsfarthestabovetheplaneoftheSolarSystem,preventingencounterswithNeptune.Thisisadirect
consequenceoftheKozaimechanism,[87]whichrelatestheeccentricityofanorbittoitsinclinationtoalarger
perturbingbodyinthiscaseNeptune.RelativetoNeptune,theamplitudeoflibrationis38,andsothe
angularseparationofPluto'speriheliontotheorbitofNeptuneisalwaysgreaterthan52(9038).The
closestsuchangularseparationoccursevery10,000years.[91]

Second,thelongitudesofascendingnodesofthetwobodiesthepointswheretheycrosstheeclipticarein
nearresonancewiththeabovelibration.Whenthetwolongitudesarethesamethatis,whenonecoulddraw
astraightlinethroughbothnodesandtheSunPluto'sperihelionliesexactlyat90,andhenceitcomes
closesttotheSunwhenitishighestaboveNeptune'sorbit.Thisisknownasthe1:1superresonance.Allthe
Jovianplanets,particularlyJupiter,playaroleinthecreationofthesuperresonance.[87] OrbitofPlutoeclipticview.This
"sideview"ofPluto'sorbit(inred)
Tounderstandthenatureofthelibration,imagineapolarpointofview,lookingdownontheeclipticfroma showsitslargeinclinationtothe
distantvantagepointwheretheplanetsorbitcounterclockwise.Afterpassingtheascendingnode,Plutois ecliptic.
interiortoNeptune'sorbitandmovingfaster,approachingNeptunefrombehind.Thestronggravitationalpull
betweenthetwocausesangularmomentumtobetransferredtoPluto,atNeptune'sexpense.ThismovesPluto
intoaslightlylargerorbit,whereittravelsslightlymoreslowly,accordingtoKepler'sthirdlaw.Asitsorbit
changes,thishasthegradualeffectofchangingtheperihelionandlongitudeofPluto'sorbit(and,toalesser
degree,ofNeptune).Aftermanysuchrepetitions,Plutoissufficientlyslowed,andNeptunesufficiently
speededup,thatNeptunebeginstocatchupwithPlutoattheoppositesideofitsorbit(neartheopposing
nodetowherewebegan).Theprocessisthenreversed,andPlutolosesangularmomentumtoNeptune,until
PlutoissufficientlyspeededupthatitbeginstocatchNeptuneagainattheoriginalnode.Thewholeprocess
takesabout20,000yearstocomplete.[89][91]

Quasisatellite

In2012,itwashypothesizedthat(15810)1994JR1couldbeaquasisatelliteofPluto,aspecifictypeofco OrbitofPlutopolarview.This
orbitalconfiguration.[93]Accordingtothehypothesis,theobjectwouldbeaquasisatelliteofPlutoforabout "viewfromabove"showshowPluto's
orbit(inred)islesscircularthan
350,000yearsoutofeverytwomillionyearperiod.[93][94]Thishypothesiswasdisprovenin2016,when
Neptune's(inblue),andhowPlutois
moreaccurateobservationsofthepositionof1994JR1weremadebyNewHorizons.[95] sometimesclosertotheSunthan
Neptune.Thedarkerhalvesofboth
Rotation orbitsshowwheretheypassbelowthe
planeoftheecliptic.

Pluto'srotationperiod,itsday,isequalto6.39Earthdays.[96]LikeUranus,Plutorotatesonits"side"inits
orbitalplane,withanaxialtiltof120,andsoitsseasonalvariationisextremeatitssolstices,onefourthofitssurfaceisincontinuousdaylight,
whereasanotherfourthisincontinuousdarkness.[97]Thereasonforthisunusualorientationhasbeendebated.ResearchfromUniversityofArizona
hassuggestedthatitmaybeduetothewaythatabody'sspinwillalwaysadjusttominimiseenergy.Thiscouldmeanabodyreorientingitselftoput
extraneousmassneartheequatorandregionslackingmasstendtowardsthepoles.Thisiscalledpolarwander.[98]Accordingtoapaperreleasedfrom
theUniversityofArizona,thiscouldbecausedbymassesoffrozennitrogenbuildingupinshadowedareasofthedwarfplanet.Thesemasseswould
causethebodytoreorientateitself,leadingtoitsunusualaxialtiltof120.ThebuildupofnitrogenisduetoPluto'svastdistancefromtheSun.Atthe
equator,temperaturescandropto240C(400.0F33.1K),causingnitrogentofreezeaswaterwouldfreezeonEarth.Thesameeffectseenon
PlutowouldbeobservedonEarthiftheAntarcticicesheetwasseveraltimeslarger.[99]

Geology
DuetoPluto'sdistancefromEarth,indepthstudyfrom
Earthischallenging.OnJuly14,2015,NASA'sNew
HorizonsspaceprobeflewthroughthePlutosystem,and
the50gigabits(or6.25gigabytes)ofinformationit
gatheredwastransmittedtoEarth.Thefinaldata
transmissionwasOctober25,2016at05:48pm
ET.[25][100][101][102]
Regionswherewatericehasbeendetected(blue
regions) Surface

TheplainsonPluto'ssurfacearecomposedofmorethan98percentnitrogenice,withtracesofmethaneand
carbonmonoxide.[103]NitrogenandcarbonmonoxidearemostabundantontheantiCharonfaceofPluto
(around180longitude,whereTombaughRegio'swesternlobe,SputnikPlanitia,islocated),whereasmethane HighresolutionMVICimageof
ismostabundantnear300east. [104]Themountainsaremadeofwaterice. [105]Pluto'ssurfaceisquitevaried, Plutoinenhancedcolortobringout
[106] differencesinsurfacecomposition
withlargedifferencesinbothbrightnessandcolor. PlutoisoneofthemostcontrastivebodiesintheSolar
System,withasmuchcontrastasSaturn'smoonIapetus.[107]Thecolorvariesbetweencharcoalblack,dark
orangeandwhite.[108]Pluto'scolorismoresimilartothatofIowithslightlymoreorange,significantlylessredthanMars.[109]Notablegeographical
featuresincludeTombaughRegio,orthe"Heart"(alargebrightareaonthesideoppositeCharon),CthulhuRegio,orthe"Whale"(alargedarkarea
onthetrailinghemisphere),andthe"BrassKnuckles"(aseriesofequatorialdarkareasontheleadinghemisphere).SputnikPlanitia,thewesternlobe
ofthe"Heart",isa1000kmwidebasinoffrozennitrogenandcarbonmonoxideices,dividedintopolygonalcellswhichareinterpretedasconvection
cellsthatcarryfloatingblocksofwatericecrustandsublimationpitstowardstheirmargins[110][111][112]thereareobvioussignsofglacialflowsboth
intoandoutofthebasin.[113][114]IthasnocratersthatwerevisibletoNewHorizons,indicatingthatitssurfaceislessthan10millionyearsold.[115]
TheNewHorizonsscienceteamsummarizedinitialfindingsas"Plutodisplaysasurprisinglywidevarietyofgeologicallandforms,includingthose
resultingfromglaciologicalandsurfaceatmosphereinteractionsaswellasimpact,tectonic,possiblecryovolcanic,andmasswastingprocesses."[4]

Distributionofover1000cratersofallagesonPluto.The GeologicmapofSputnikPlanitiaandsurroundings
variationindensity(withnonefoundinSputnikPlanitia) (context),withconvectioncellmarginsoutlinedin
indicatesalonghistoryofvaryinggeologicalactivity. black

SputnikPlanitiaiscoveredwithchurningnitrogen
ice"cells"thataregeologicallyyoungandturning
overduetoconvection.

Internalstructure

Pluto'sdensityis1.860 0.013g/cm3.[4]Becausethedecayofradioactiveelementswouldeventuallyheatthe
icesenoughfortherocktoseparatefromthem,scientistsexpectthatPluto'sinternalstructureisdifferentiated,
withtherockymaterialhavingsettledintoadensecoresurroundedbyamantleofwaterice.Thediameterof
thecoreishypothesizedtobeapproximately1700km,70%ofPluto'sdiameter.[116]Itispossiblethatsuch
heatingcontinuestoday,creatingasubsurfaceoceanofliquidwatersome100to180kmthickatthecore
mantleboundary.[116][117]InSeptember2016,scientistsatBrownUniversitysimulatedtheimpactbelievedto
haveformedSputnikPlanitia,andshowedthatitmighthavebeentheresultofliquidwaterupwellingfrom
belowafterthecollision,implyingtheexistenceofasubsurfaceoceanatleast100kmdeep.[118]Plutohasno
magneticfield.[119]
InternalstructureofPluto[116]
Massandsize 1.Frozennitrogen[103]
2.Waterice
SelectedsizeestimatesforPluto 3.Rock
Year Radius Notes
1993 1195km Millis,etal.[120](ifnohaze)[121]
1993 1180km Millis,etal.(surface&haze)[121]
1994 1164km Young&Binzel[122]
2006 1153km Buie,etal.[52]
2007 1161km Young,Young,&Buie[123]
2011 1180km Zalucha,etal.[124]
2014 1184km Lellouch,etal.[125]
2015 1187km NewHorizonsmeasurement[126]

Pluto'sdiameteris2374 8km[4]anditsmassis(1.303 0.003) 1022kg,17.7%thatoftheMoon(0.22%thatofEarth).[127]Itssurfaceareais


1.665 107km2,orroughlythesamesurfaceareaasRussia.Itssurfacegravityis0.063g(comparedto1gforEarth).

ThediscoveryofPluto'ssatelliteCharonin1978enabledadeterminationofthemassofthePlutoCharonsystembyapplicationofNewton's
formulationofKepler'sthirdlaw.ObservationsofPlutoinoccultationwithCharonallowedscientiststoestablishPluto'sdiametermoreaccurately,
whereastheinventionofadaptiveopticsallowedthemtodetermineitsshapemoreaccurately.[128]

Withlessthan0.2lunarmasses,Plutoismuchlessmassivethantheterrestrialplanets,andalsolessmassivethansevenmoons:Ganymede,Titan,
Callisto,Io,theMoon,Europa,andTriton.ThemassismuchlessthanthoughtbeforeCharonwasdiscovered.

PlutoismorethantwicethediameterandadozentimesthemassofthedwarfplanetCeres,thelargestobjectintheasteroidbelt.Itislessmassive
thanthedwarfplanetEris,atransNeptunianobjectdiscoveredin2005,thoughPlutohasalargerdiameterof2374km[126]comparedtoEris's
approximatediameterof2326km.[129]
DeterminationsofPluto'ssizehadbeencomplicatedbyitsatmosphere,[123]andhydrocarbonhaze.[121]InMarch
2014,Lellouch,deBerghetal.publishedfindingsregardingmethanemixingratiosinPluto'satmosphere
consistentwithaPlutoniandiametergreaterthan2360km,witha"bestguess"of2368km.[125]OnJuly13,2015,
imagesfromNASA'sNewHorizonsmissionLongRangeReconnaissanceImager(LORRI),alongwithdatafrom
theotherinstruments,determinedPluto'sdiametertobe2,370km(1,470mi),[129][130]whichwaslaterrevisedto
be2,372km(1,474mi)onJuly24,[126]andlaterto2374 8km.[4]

Sizecomparisons:Earth,the
Moon,andPluto

Atmosphere
Plutohasatenuousatmosphereconsistingofnitrogen(N2),methane(CH4),andcarbonmonoxide(CO),whicharein
equilibriumwiththeiricesonPluto'ssurface.[131][132]AccordingtothemeasurementsbyNewHorizons,thesurface
pressureisabout1Pa(10bar),[4]roughlyonemillionto100,000timeslessthanEarth'satmosphericpressure.Itwas
initiallythoughtthat,asPlutomovesawayfromtheSun,itsatmosphereshouldgraduallyfreezeontothesurface
however,studiesofNewHorizonsdataandgroundbasedoccultationsshowthatPluto'satmosphericdensityactually
increases,andthatitlikelyremainsgaseousthroughoutPluto'sorbit.[133][134]NewHorizonsobservationsshowedthat
atmosphericescapeofnitrogentobe10,000timeslessthanexpected.[134]AlanSternhascontendedthatevenasmall
increaseinPluto'ssurfacetemperaturecanleadtoexponentialincreasesinPluto'satmosphericdensityfrom18hPatoas
Aneartruecolorimage
muchas280hPa(threetimesthatofMarstoaquarterthatoftheEarth).Atsuchdensities,nitrogencouldflowacrossthe
ofPlutotakenby
surfaceasliquid.[134]Justlikesweatcoolsthebodyasitevaporatesfromtheskin,thesublimationofPluto'satmosphere NASA'sNewHorizons
coolsitssurface.[135]Thepresenceofatmosphericgaseswastracedupto1670kilometershigh,althoughtheatmosphere probeafteritsflyby.The
doesnothaveasharpupperboundary. photoshowsbluehaze
layersinPluto's
Thepresenceofmethane,apowerfulgreenhousegas,inPluto'satmospherecreatesatemperatureinversion,withthe atmosphere.
averagetemperatureofitsatmospheretensofdegreeswarmerthanitssurface,[136]thoughobservationsbyNewHorizons
haverevealedPluto'supperatmospheretobefarcolderthanexpected(70K,asopposedtoabout100K).[134]Pluto's
atmosphereisdividedintoroughly20regularlyspacedhazelayersupto150kmhigh,[4]thoughttobetheresultofpressurewavescreatedbyairflow
acrossPluto'smountains.[134]

XraysfromPluto

Satellites
Plutohasfiveknownnaturalsatellites:Charon,firstidentifiedin1978byastronomerJamesChristyNixandHydra,bothdiscoveredin2005[137]
Kerberos,discoveredin2011[138]andStyx,discoveredin2012.[139]Thesatellites'orbitsarecircular(eccentricity<0.006)andcoplanarwithPluto's
equator(inclination<1),[140][141]andthereforetiltedapproximately120relativetoPluto'sorbit.ThePlutoniansystemishighlycompact:thefive
knownsatellitesorbitwithintheinner3%oftheregionwhereprogradeorbitswouldbestable.[142]ClosesttoPlutoisCharon,whichislargeenough
tobeinhydrostaticequilibriumandtocausethebarycenterofthePlutoCharonsystemtobeoutsidePluto.BeyondCharontherearefourmuch
smallercircumbinarymoons,Styx,Nix,Kerberos,andHydra.

TheorbitalperiodsofallPluto'smoonsarelinkedinasystemoforbitalresonancesandnearresonances.[141][143]Whenprecessionisaccountedfor,
theorbitalperiodsofStyx,Nix,andHydraareinanexact18:22:33ratio.[141]Thereisasequenceofapproximateratios,3:4:5:6,betweentheperiods
ofStyx,Nix,Kerberos,andHydrawiththatofCharontheratiosbecomeclosertobeingexactthefurtheroutthemoonsare.[141][144]

ThePlutoCharonsystemisoneofthefewintheSolarSystemwhosebarycenterliesoutsidetheprimarybody617Patroclusisasmallerexample,
andtheSunJupitersystemistheonlylargerone.[145]ThesimilarsizesofCharonandPlutohaspromptedsomeastronomerstocallitadoubledwarf
planet.[146]Thesystemisalsounusualamongplanetarysystemsinthateachistidallylockedtotheother,whichmeansthatPlutoandCharonalways
havethesamehemispherefacingeachother.Fromanypositiononeitherbody,theotherisalwaysatthesamepositioninthesky,oralways
obscured.[147]Thisalsomeansthattherotationperiodofeachisequaltothetimeittakestheentiresystemtorotatearounditsbarycenter.[96]

In2007,observationsbytheGeminiObservatoryofpatchesofammoniahydratesandwatercrystalsonthesurfaceofCharonsuggestedthepresence
ofactivecryogeysers.[148]
Pluto'smoonsarehypothesizedtohavebeenformedbyacollisionbetweenPlutoandasimilarsized
body,earlyinthehistoryoftheSolarSystem.Thecollisionreleasedmaterialthatconsolidatedintothe
moonsaroundPluto.[149]However,KerberoshasamuchloweralbedothantheothermoonsofPluto,[150]
whichisdifficulttoexplainwithagiantcollision.[151]

AnobliqueviewofthePlutoCharon
systemshowingthatPlutoorbitsapoint
outsideitself.Alsovisibleisthemutual
tidallockingbetweenthetwobodies.

1.ThePlutosystem:Pluto,Charon,Styx,Nix,Kerberos,andHydra,imagedbytheHubbleSpaceTelescopeinJuly2012.2.Pluto
andCharon,toscale.ImageacquiredbyNewHorizonsonJuly8,2015.3.FamilyportraitofthefivemoonsofPluto,toscale. [152]4.
Pluto'smoonCharonasviewedbyNewHorizonsonJuly13,2015

Origin
Pluto'soriginandidentityhadlongpuzzledastronomers.OneearlyhypothesiswasthatPlutowasan
escapedmoonofNeptune,knockedoutoforbitbyitslargestcurrentmoon,Triton.Thisideawas
eventuallyrejectedafterdynamicalstudiesshowedittobeimpossiblebecausePlutoneverapproaches
Neptuneinitsorbit.[153]

Pluto'strueplaceintheSolarSystembegantorevealitselfonlyin1992,whenastronomersbeganto
findsmallicyobjectsbeyondNeptunethatweresimilartoPlutonotonlyinorbitbutalsoinsizeand
composition.ThistransNeptunianpopulationisthoughttobethesourceofmanyshortperiodcomets.
PlutoisnowknowntobethelargestmemberoftheKuiperbelt,[j]astablebeltofobjectslocated
between30and50AUfromtheSun.Asof2011,surveysoftheKuiperbelttomagnitude21were
nearlycompleteandanyremainingPlutosizedobjectsareexpectedtobebeyond100AUfromthe
Sun.[154]LikeotherKuiperbeltobjects(KBOs),Plutosharesfeatureswithcometsforexample,the
solarwindisgraduallyblowingPluto'ssurfaceintospace.[155]IthasbeenclaimedthatifPlutowere
placedasneartotheSunasEarth,itwoulddevelopatail,ascometsdo.[156]Thisclaimhasbeen PlotoftheknownKuiperbeltobjects,set
disputedwiththeargumentthatPluto'sescapevelocityistoohighforthistohappen.[157] againstthefourgiantplanets

ThoughPlutoisthelargestKuiperbeltobjectdiscovered,[121]Neptune'smoonTriton,whichisslightly
largerthanPluto,issimilartoitbothgeologicallyandatmospherically,andisthoughttobeacapturedKuiperbeltobject.[158]Eris(seeabove)isabout
thesamesizeasPluto(thoughmoremassive)butisnotstrictlyconsideredamemberoftheKuiperbeltpopulation.Rather,itisconsideredamember
ofalinkedpopulationcalledthescattereddisc.

AlargenumberofKuiperbeltobjects,likePluto,areina2:3orbitalresonancewithNeptune.KBOswiththisorbitalresonancearecalled"plutinos",
afterPluto.[159]

LikeothermembersoftheKuiperbelt,PlutoisthoughttobearesidualplanetesimalacomponentoftheoriginalprotoplanetarydiscaroundtheSun
thatfailedtofullycoalesceintoafullfledgedplanet.MostastronomersagreethatPlutoowesitscurrentpositiontoasuddenmigrationundergoneby
NeptuneearlyintheSolarSystem'sformation.AsNeptunemigratedoutward,itapproachedtheobjectsintheprotoKuiperbelt,settingoneinorbit
arounditself(Triton),lockingothersintoresonances,andknockingothersintochaoticorbits.Theobjectsinthescattereddisc,adynamicallyunstable
regionoverlappingtheKuiperbelt,arethoughttohavebeenplacedintheircurrentpositionsbyinteractionswithNeptune'smigratingresonances.[160]
Acomputermodelcreatedin2004byAlessandroMorbidellioftheObservatoiredelaCted'AzurinNicesuggestedthatthemigrationofNeptune
intotheKuiperbeltmayhavebeentriggeredbytheformationofa1:2resonancebetweenJupiterandSaturn,whichcreatedagravitationalpushthat
propelledbothUranusandNeptuneintohigherorbitsandcausedthemtoswitchplaces,ultimatelydoublingNeptune'sdistancefromtheSun.The
resultantexpulsionofobjectsfromtheprotoKuiperbeltcouldalsoexplaintheLateHeavyBombardment600millionyearsaftertheSolarSystem's
formationandtheoriginoftheJupitertrojans.[161]ItispossiblethatPlutohadanearcircularorbitabout33AUfromtheSunbeforeNeptune's
migrationperturbeditintoaresonantcapture.[162]TheNicemodelrequiresthattherewereaboutathousandPlutosizedbodiesintheoriginal
planetesimaldisk,whichincludedTritonandEris.[161]

Observationandexploration
Pluto'sdistancefromEarthmakesitsindepthstudyandexplorationdifficult.OnJuly14,2015,NASA'sNewHorizonsspaceprobeflewthroughthe
Plutosystem,providingmuchinformationaboutit.[24]

Observation

Pluto'svisualapparentmagnitudeaverages15.1,brighteningto13.65atperihelion.[1]Toseeit,atelescopeis
requiredaround30cm(12in)aperturebeingdesirable.[163]Itlooksstarlikeandwithoutavisiblediskevenin
largetelescopes,becauseitsangulardiameterisonly0.11".

TheearliestmapsofPluto,madeinthelate1980s,werebrightnessmapscreatedfromcloseobservationsof
eclipsesbyitslargestmoon,Charon.Observationsweremadeofthechangeinthetotalaveragebrightnessofthe
PlutoCharonsystemduringtheeclipses.Forexample,eclipsingabrightspotonPlutomakesabiggertotal
brightnesschangethaneclipsingadarkspot.Computerprocessingofmanysuchobservationscanbeusedto
createabrightnessmap.Thismethodcanalsotrackchangesinbrightnessovertime.[164][165]

BettermapswereproducedfromimagestakenbytheHubbleSpaceTelescope(HST),whichofferedhigher
resolution,andshowedconsiderablymoredetail,[107]resolvingvariationsseveralhundredkilometersacross, Computergeneratedrotating
includingpolarregionsandlargebrightspots.[109]Thesemapswereproducedbycomplexcomputerprocessing, imageofPlutobasedon
observationsbytheHubbleSpace
whichfindsthebestfitprojectedmapsforthefewpixelsoftheHubbleimages.[166]Theseremainedthemost
Telescopein20022003
detailedmapsofPlutountiltheflybyofNewHorizonsinJuly2015,becausethetwocamerasontheHSTused
forthesemapswerenolongerinservice.[166]

Exploration

TheNewHorizonsspacecraft,whichflewbyPlutoinJuly2015,isthefirstandsofaronlyattempttoexplore
Plutodirectly.Launchedin2006,itcaptureditsfirst(distant)imagesofPlutoinlateSeptember2006duringa
testoftheLongRangeReconnaissanceImager.[167]Theimages,takenfromadistanceofapproximately4.2
billionkilometers,confirmedthespacecraft'sabilitytotrackdistanttargets,criticalformaneuveringtoward
PlutoandotherKuiperbeltobjects.Inearly2007thecraftmadeuseofagravityassistfromJupiter.

NewHorizonsmadeitsclosestapproachtoPlutoonJuly14,2015,aftera3,462dayjourneyacrosstheSolar
TheportionsofPluto'ssurface
System.ScientificobservationsofPlutobeganfivemonthsbeforetheclosestapproachandcontinuedforat
mappedbyNewHorizons(annotated)
leastamonthaftertheencounter.Observationswereconductedusingaremotesensingpackagethatincluded
imaginginstrumentsandaradioscienceinvestigationtool,aswellasspectroscopicandotherexperiments.The
scientificgoalsofNewHorizonsweretocharacterizetheglobalgeologyandmorphologyofPlutoanditsmoonCharon,maptheirsurface
composition,andanalyzePluto'sneutralatmosphereanditsescaperate.

Gallery

ViewoftheNorgayMontes(leftforeground),HillaryMontes(leftskyline),
andSputnikPlanitia(right)
SphericalmosaicofNewHorizonsimagesshowingtheexpanseofSputnikPlanitia
(releasedSeptember10,2015)[168][169]

PlutoandCharonasviewedbyNewHorizons
(highestresolutioncolorJuly14,2015)

PlutoviewedbyNew PlutoviewedbyNew PlutoviewedbyNew PlutoviewedbyNew PlutoviewedbyNew


Horizons Horizons Horizons Horizons Horizons
(July9,2015) (July11,2015) (July11,2015) (July12,2015) (July13,2015)

PlutoasviewedbyNewHorizons PlutoasviewedbyNewHorizons
(colorJuly11,2015) (colorJuly13,2015)

Videos
Plutoflyoveranimated(July14,2015)

(00:30releasedSeptember18,2015) (00:50releasedDecember5,2015) Thismosaicstripextendingacrossthehemisphere


thatfacedtheNewHorizonsspacecraftasitflew
pastPluto.(NoAudio1080p60fps)

Seealso
HowIKilledPlutoandWhyItHadItComing
Plutoinastrology
Plutoinfiction

Notes
a.ThisisacompositeoffourneartruecolorphotographstakenbytheNew g.BasedongeometryofminimumandmaximumdistancefromEarthand
HorizonsspacecraftonJuly14,2015fromadistanceof720,000km Plutoradiusinthefactsheet
(450,000mi).Themostprominentfeatureintheimage,thebright,youthful h.Theequivalenceislesscloseinlanguageswhosephonologydifferswidely
plainsofTombaughRegioandSputnikPlanitia,canbeseenatlowerright. fromGreek's,suchasSomaliBuluutoandNavajoTotoo.
Itcontraststhedarker,morecrateredterrainofCthulhuRegioatlowerleft. i.ThediscoveryofCharonin1978allowedastronomerstoaccurately
BecauseofPluto's119.591tiltatitsaxis,thesouthernhemisphereis calculatethemassofthePlutoniansystem.Butitdidnotindicatethetwo
barelyvisibleinthisimagetheequatorrunsthroughCthulhuandthe bodies'individualmasses,whichcouldonlybeestimatedafterothermoons
southernpartsofSputnikPlanitia. ofPluto'swerediscoveredinlate2005.Asaresult,becausePlutocameto
b.ThemeanelementsherearefromtheTheoryoftheOuterPlanets perihelionin1989,mostPlutoperiheliondateestimatesarebasedonthe
(TOP2013)solutionbytheInstitutdemcaniqueclesteetdecalculdes PlutoCharonbarycenter.Charoncametoperihelion4September1989.(htt
phmrides(IMCCE).TheyrefertothestandardequinoxJ2000,the p://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.cgi?find_body=1&body_group=mb&sstr=901)
barycenteroftheSolarSystem,andtheepochJ2000. ThePlutoCharonbarycentercametoperihelion5September1989.(http://
c.Surfaceareaderivedfromtheradiusr: . ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.cgi?find_body=1&body_group=mb&sstr=9)Pluto
d.Volumevderivedfromtheradiusr: . cametoperihelion8September1989.(http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.cgi?f
e.SurfacegravityderivedfromthemassM,thegravitationalconstantGand ind_body=1&body_group=mb&sstr=999)
theradiusr: . j.ThedwarfplanetErisisroughlythesamesizeasPluto,about2330km
Erisis,however,28%moremassivethanPluto.Erisisascattereddisc
f.EscapevelocityderivedfromthemassM,thegravitationalconstantGand
object,oftenconsideredadistinctpopulationfromKuiperbeltobjectslike
theradiusr: . PlutoPlutoisthelargestbodyintheKuiperbeltproper,whichexcludes
thescattereddiscobjects.
g.BasedongeometryofminimumandmaximumdistancefromEarthand
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Furtherreading
Stern,SAandTholen,DJ(1997),PlutoandCharon,UniversityofArizonaPressISBN9780816518401

Externallinks
NewHorizonshomepage(http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/index.html)
PlutoProfile(http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Pluto)atNASA'sSolarSystemExplorationsite(http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/)
NASAPlutofactsheet(http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/plutofact.html)
WebsiteoftheobservatorythatdiscoveredPluto(http://www.lowell.edu/)
EarthtelescopeimageofPlutosystem(http://www.astrobio.net/pressrelease/5055/sharpesteverviewsofplutoandcharon)
KeckinfraredwithAOofPlutosystem(http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/pressreleases/PlutoPictures/PlutoTholen1007.html)
Gray,Meghan(2009)."Pluto".SixtySymbols.BradyHaranfortheUniversityofNottingham.
VideoPlutoviewedthroughtheyears(GIF)(http://www.nasa.gov/imagefeature/goddard/viewsofplutothroughtheyears)(NASAanimationJuly15,
2015).
VideoPluto"FlyThrough"(00:22MP4)(http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/archive/PIA19873_FLYTHROUGH_ANIMATION_V5.mp4)(YouTube)(https://w
ww.youtube.com/watch?v=ds_OlZnV9qk)(NASAanimationAugust31,2015).
"ADayonPlutoVideomadefromJuly2015NewHorizonImages"(http://www.scientificamerican.com/video/adayonplutoreconstructedfromnewhorizonsi
mages/)ScientificAmerican

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