7 Interesting facts about the planet pluto
Discovered in 1930, Pluto planet is the second nearest dwarf planet to the sun and it is classified as the 9th planet.
The following are 9 interesting facts about the planet that you should know.
· Pluto was given its name by an 11 year old girl
When the grandfather of Venetia Burney told her that a new planet had been discovered, she proposed Pluto as its name, a name of the Roman Underworld god.
The name was fitting since just like the god, pluto was located far in the solar system.
The grandfather suggested the name to his friend; an astronomy professor at Oxford University who took the first letters of the word to represent the initials of Percival Lowell, the astronomer who predicted the existence of Pluto
· Pluto was referred to as a dwarf planet in 2006 but not for the known reason
The news that Pluto was larger than it was originally known was exciting especially to the partisans who did not believe that it was too small to be a planet.
However, it was downgraded to a dwarf planet because it was not unique in any way.
· Pluto is smaller than the Earth’s moon
Pluto has a diameter of 1,473 miles while the earth’s moon has a diameter of 2,160 miles.
The size of Pluto is 18.5 per cent that of the earth.
· Pluto was discovered in 1930 by a young research assistant
The existence of Pluto was first predicted in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, a 24 year old research assistant 15 years before it was discovered by Tombaugh though he did not give its exact location due to the irregularity of Neptune’s orbit.
· It has 5 moons
Pluto has 5 known moons not because it is big but because there are no debris at the Kuiper Belt edge.
Pluto was named a dwarf planet due to its inability to clear its surrounding space. The natural satellites in Pluto are Hydra, Kerberos, Nix, Styx and Charon.
Some of them are large steroids like Hydra is five miles wide.
· Pluto sometimes has an atmosphere
When pluto is close to the sun on the elliptical orbit path, a thin atmosphere of carbon monoxide, methane and nitrogen is formed but as it travels away from the sun, it freezes back to the original solid state.
· Pluto is a third water
This is about three times the water in earth and the remaining 2/3 of the planet is rock.
The surface of Pluto is covered with mountain ranges and some areas are dark while others are light.