SSS Pluto - Charon the largest and Nix and Hydra the much...

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Solar System Summary: Pluto ASTR 1101 Pluto Pluto is the “planet” that is starting a lot of controversy these days among the scientific community. There are debates all of the time trying to decide if poor little Pluto is a planet. Pluto has a diameter of about 2274 km km. This is equal to 0.2 Earth diameters. Pluto has a mass of 1.27 x10^22 kg or 0.002 Earth masses. The density of Pluto is about 2.0 gm/cm^3. It rotates once in 6.4 days and a year is 248.5 Earth years long. The surface of Pluto is somewhat hard to determine, at the distance it is but the majority of the surface is covered with something dark and reflective, like ice. The surface temperature on Pluto varies between about -235 and -210 C. Pluto does have an atmosphere, made of mostly nitrogen and it does have a fairly small magnetic field. The interior is most likely rock and ice but no one really knows. ( Pluto does not have any rings but it does have three moons,
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Unformatted text preview: Charon; the largest, and Nix and Hydra; the much smaller ones. The peculiar thing about Pluto is that it isn’t even considered a planet by some. Some people think that it is too small and is not even the force that acts upon the orbit of Neptune. It is even thought that Triton, Neptune’s moon might have been like Pluto, but then got caught in Neptune’s gravitational pull. ( Pluto was discovered in 1930 by a fortunate accident. Calculations, which later turned out to be in error, had predicted a planet beyond Neptune, based on the motions of Uranus and Neptune. A spacecraft has not yet visited Pluto. Even the Hubble Space Telescope can resolve only the largest features on its surface (left and above). A spacecraft called New Horizons was launched in January 2006. If all goes well it should reach Pluto in 2015. Reference: (image)
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SSS Pluto - Charon the largest and Nix and Hydra the much...

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