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Pluto - The Planet That Isn't

We were all taught in school that their are nine planets in the solar system - with Pluto being the smallest and the farthest away. But in August of 2006, five hundred astronomers in the Czech Republic voted Pluto "off the island", in Survivor terms. That's right, Pluto has been stripped of its planet status!

Pluto - Discovery and Background

Pluto was discovered (by mistake) by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 when Clyde was looking for a different planet he believed existed. After finding Pluto, scientists continued to look for a 10th planet, but nothing was ever found.

Pluto - The Demotion

[In order to be considered a planet by scientists, a body must be big enough to have cleared other debris (comets, asteroids, etc.) out of its path as it circles the sun. Pluto is inside a big comet field called the Kuiper Belt, so it had to pack its planetary bags. And you thought The Apprentice was harsh?

Pluto - Did U Know?
  • Pluto is practically impossible to spot while stargazing. Even when you use a telescope, it just looks like a star.
  • Pluto is smaller than Earth's Moon.
  • Pluto has a weird orbit. Sometimes it is closer to the Sun than Neptune - From January 1979 to February 1999 Pluto was closer to the Sun. It also rotates in the opposite direction from most of the other planets.
  • Pluto didn't even make all the way around the Sun before it was stripped of its status as a planet. We've only known about Pluto's existance for 76 years, which was only enough time for it to make it a third of the way around.

Properties of Pluto
Mass 1.29e+22
Distance from Sun 5,906 billion kms/3,906 billion miles
Distance from Earth 4.4 billion kms/2.67 billion miles
Length of Year 248 Earth years (to rotate the sun)
Rotation Time 144 hours, 6 hours
Angle of Axis 122.46 degrees
Diameter 2340 kms/1454 miles
Number of Satellites 1
Number of Rings Unknown
Number of Moons 1
Temperature Average of -390 Fahrenheit/-233 Celsius
Weight on Pluto A 100 pound person would weigh 6.9 pounds
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