Visual Encyclopedia

Pluto

Pluto (minor-planet designation: 134340 Pluto) is a dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt, a ring of bodies beyond Neptune. It was the first Kuiper belt object to be discovered.

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Scientists Find Something Bizarre Behind Pluto

Basically, Pluto has a tail! Data from the New Horizons spacecraft suggests that Pluto's atmosphere is being pushed back by solar wind creating a huge region of cold and dense ionized gas composed mostly of nitrogen ions forming a plasma tail that extends tens of thousands of miles beyond Pluto creating a hole in the surrounding wind.

Contributed by Sam Feldstone

Exactly How Big is Pluto?

Wow! Pluto would actually fit inside the continent of Australia!

Contributed by Sam Feldstone

New Pluto Images Reveal Planet Stunningly Alive

Some new images from the New Horizons spacecraft zoomed in on the "heart" region of Pluto called Tombaugh Regio and found glaciers made of flowing nitrogen ice brushing up against surface bumps in the northern part of the region at the rim of a vast ice field known as Sputnik Planum.

Contributed by Sam Feldstone

This was created from images taken during the New Horizons' closest approach to Pluto on July 14th and depicts the planet's Norgay Mountains and Sputnik Plain on its surface. The mountains rise about 2.2 miles above the surface and are relatively young, estimated to have formed only 100 million years ago and the plain appears to be just as young. This may cause us to rethink what powers geological activity on other icy worlds. The images were taken using the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager from a distance of 48000 miles showing features on the planet as small as 0.6 miles across. extra info here: www.iflscience.com

Contributed by Sam Feldstone

Six Awesome Facts We Learned About Pluto This Week

Pluto's heart (probably caused by frost) is constantly changing. Pluto is bigger than we thought (a diameter of 1473 miles) and is the largest object in our solar system beyond Neptune Pluto's craters could be named after Star Trek characters Nitrogen emissions were detected and there's something in the atmosphere Dark spots with similar size and spacing were noticed There are ice caps confirmed to contain frozen methane and nitrogen ice

Contributed by Sam Feldstone

New Horizons Infographic

A visual summary about the discovery of Pluto, its location in the solar system and info about the New Horizons spacecraft being sent to explore it

Contributed by Sam Feldstone

Pluto and Charon Show Their True Colors

We've recently discovered that Pluto and Charon have two distinct colors and like asteroid Ceres Pluto turns out to have spots darker than the rest of the surface.

Contributed by Sam Feldstone

Pluto and Charon Starting to Come in Focus

Pluto and its largest moon Charon are featured in a new portrait as 2 icy gray circles hovering in a pitch-black void taken by New Horizon's probe which is only 2 weeks away from its close encounter with the dwarf planet. Previous images depicted these objects as highly pixelated smudges of color barely distinguishable as spheres but now New Horizons is only about 10 million miles away from Pluto and is approaching by more than 30,000 miles per hour. The view of these unexplored worlds is getting clearer by the day.

Contributed by Sam Feldstone

Imagine New Horizons finding something so amazing and life-supporting on Pluto that you could go on a trip to Pluto within a year!

Contributed by Sam Feldstone

March 23, 2178 is the date Pluto will complete its first orbit since being discovered in 1930.

Contributed by Taylor Jackson

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