The Planet Pluto is in the ninth position from the Sun. It is smaller than the earth’s moon. Thus, its orbit takes it within the Neptune orbit and beyond the orbit. Pluto was the eighth planet actually from the sun until 1999 from 1979. But on Feb 11, 1999, it was relegated to a dwarf planet as it crossed the path of Neptune and became the most distant planet of the solar system. Pluto for another 228 years will be beyond Neptune. The orbit of the Pluto is tilted to the solar system main plane by 17.1 degrees. Thus it is a rocky and cold world with an ephemeral atmosphere.
- Orbit: 248 Earth years
- Diameter: 1,430 miles (2,301 km)
- Day:4 Earth day
Pluto is also the largest members of the Kuiper Belt, which is beyond the Neptune orbit, a shadowy disklike zone and is thought to be populated with thousands of rocky, icy bodies larger than 62 miles (100 kilometres) across, in association with 1 trillion or more comets.
Pluto was discovered at the Lowell Observatory by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930, based on the predictions by Lowell and many more astronomers, It acquired its name from the Roman god of the underworld. Pluto in 2006 was categorised as a dwarf planet and since then it attracted controversy in the scientific community and general public.
The planet Pluto is far from Earth and very little was known until 2015 about its surface conditions or size. The recent NASA’s space probe show that this dwarf planet is 1473 miles (2370 km), this means it is two-thirds wide as the moon in the earth and is less than the earth’s diameter by nearly one-fifth.
The new horizons revealed that Pluto’s surface has a variety of features including mountain at 11,000 feet comparing the Earth’s Rocky Mountains. The nitrogen and methane ice cover most of the Pluto surface. The materials are fragile to support enormous peaks, so it is suspected that these mountains are formed on water-ice bedrock.
The surface of the planet Pluto is covered with plenty of methane ice, but the scientists have now observed the dwarf planet’s surface ice reflects light in different ways. Pluto’s surface is the coldest in the solar system at minus 375 degrees Fahrenheit. However, in comparison to the past images of Pluto, the dwarf planet has grown redder now, obviously due to seasonal changes. The dwarf planet goes closer to the sun than Neptune and when it is closer, its surface ices thaw and the atmosphere thins, comprising of nitrogen mostly with some methane.