Pluto - Surface too far away to see anything clearly some...

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Pluto Introduction and General Properties  discovered in 1930 smallest planet about 60 % size of Moon link to picture showing Pluto and it's moon compared to size of  United States: probably a left over planetisimal recent debate as to whether it should be counted as a planet (it will  be) albedo = 0.60 . . . . not clouds- but frozen methane on the surface density = 1.7 g/cm 3 => mainly ice and rock ? Motions orbit: orbital period = 248 years o (distance from Sun is now 6 billion km) orbit is very elongated and tilted from the ecliptic plane Pluto was actually the 8th planet from the Sun from 1989 -  1999 Figure 9.29 shows this orbit.  [Link to Figure 9.29] rotation: rotation period = 6 1/2 days rotation axis is highly tilted Interior
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have not been able to look for a magnetic field (do not expect one) probably a mixture of about 75 % rock and 25 % ice
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Unformatted text preview: Surface too far away to see anything clearly some evidence for surface features, maybe polar caps - Figure 9.28 shows our best images. [Link to Figure 9.28] probably covered by frozen methane Atmosphere • very low mass => weak gravity => hard to trap gasses very cold (about 40 K) so any gasses would freeze out onto the surface o => probably no atmosphere HOWEVER, when closest to the Sun (as is was 1989-1999) o temperature is warmer (58 K) thin methane atmosphere forms History probably a left-over planetisimal Moons: one moon - Charon • about 1/2 size of Pluto o very big compared to the planet • orbit is close to Pluto (19,700 km) • strong tidal interactions on both Pluto and Charon o BOTH Pluto and Charon keep same side toward one another o only one side of Pluto ever sees Charon !!...
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Pluto - Surface too far away to see anything clearly some...

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