Astronomy_1_worksheet_4_part_18 - 1. Astronomers believe...

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1. Astronomers believe that the Pluto/Charon pair are very large comets that were captured in their current orbits by the gravity of the Sun billions of years ago. If they are just very big comets, some people feel we should stop calling them planets and moons at all. 2. We also know that Pluto has a tiny atmosphere but it is so cold on Pluto (-240° C or -400° F ), that all of its weak atmosphere freezes and falls to the ground as a frost for most of its incredible journey around the Sun. Thus, for most of the time, Pluto has no atmosphere. Only during a small period when Pluto’s orbit brings it closer to the Sun does a little of that frost evaporate and become a bit of gas collecting above the planet. Swing Pluto around so you are behind its dark side, and locate the Sun. It’s just a tiny dot so far away. Feel the cold … and the isolation. It is so frigid and lonely out here … isn’t it! 3.
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This note was uploaded on 03/06/2010 for the course ASTRONOMY astronomy taught by Professor Moth during the Fall '09 term at California State University , Monterey Bay.

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Astronomy_1_worksheet_4_part_18 - 1. Astronomers believe...

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