New research out of the University of Central Florida argues against the definition that stripped Pluto of its status, citing research into years of scientific literature on the requirements for classifying a planet.
November 14, It is also one of the largest known members of the Kuiper Belta shadowy zone beyond the orbit of Neptune thought to be populated by hundreds of thousands of rocky, icy bodies each larger than 62 miles kilometers across, along with 1 trillion or more comets.
InPluto was reclassified as a dwarf planeta change widely thought of as a demotion. The question of Pluto's planet status has attracted controversy and stirred debate in the scientific communityand among the general publicsince then. Ina science group including members of the New Horizon mission proposed a new definition of planethood based on "round objects in space smaller than stars," which would make the number of planets in our solar system expand from 8 to roughly American astronomer Percival Lowell first caught hints of Pluto's existence in from odd deviations he observed in the orbits of Neptune and Uranus, suggesting that another world's gravity was tugging at these two planets from beyond.
Lowell predicted the mystery planet's location inbut died without finding it. Pluto was finally discovered in by Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory, based on predictions by Lowell and other astronomers. Pluto got its name from year-old Venetia Burney of Oxford, England, who suggested to her grandfather that the new A reasearch on whether pluto is a planet get its name from the Roman god of the underworld.
Her grandfather then passed the name on to Lowell Observatory. The name also honors Percival Lowell, whose initials are the first two letters of Pluto.
Physical characteristics Since Pluto is so far from Earth, little was known about the dwarf planet's size or surface conditions untilwhen NASA's New Horizons space probe made a close flyby of Pluto. New Horizons showed that Pluto has a diameter of 1, miles 2, kmless than one-fifth the diameter of Earth, and only about two-thirds as wide as Earth's moon.
Observations of Pluto's surface by the New Horizons spacecraft revealed a variety of surface featuresincluding mountains that reach as high as 11, feet 3, meterscomparable to the Rocky Mountains on Earth.
While methane and nitrogen ice cover much of the surface of Pluto, these materials are not strong enough to support such enormous peaks, so scientists suspect that the mountains are formed on a bedrock of water ice.
The dwarf planet also possesses ice ridge terrain that appears to look like a snakeskin; astronomers spotted similar features to Earth's penitentes, or erosion-formed features on mountainous terrain.
The Pluto features are much larger; they are estimated at 1, feet m tall, while the Earth features are only a few meters in size. Another distinct feature on Pluto's surface is a large heart-shaped region known unofficially as Tombaugh Regio after Clyde Tombaugh; regio is Latin for region.
The left side of the region an area that takes on the shape of an ice cream cone is covered in carbon monoxide ice. Other variations in the composition of surface materials have been identified within the "heart" of Pluto.
In the center left of Tombaugh Regio is a very smooth region unofficially known by the New Horizons team as "Sputnik Planum," after Earth's first artificial satellite, Sputnik.
This region of Pluto's surface lacks craters caused by meteorite impacts, suggesting that the area is, on a geologic timescale, very young — no more than million years old.
It's possible that this region is still being shaped and changed by geologic processes. These icy plains also display dark streaks that are a few miles long, and aligned in the same direction. It's possible the lines are created by harsh winds blowing across the dwarf planet's surface.
Pluto's surface is one of the coldest places in the solar system, at roughly minus degrees Fahrenheit minus degrees Celsius. When compared with past images, pictures of Pluto taken by the Hubble Space Telescope revealed that the dwarf planet had apparently grown redder over time, apparently due to seasonal changes.
Pluto may have or may have had a subsurface ocean, although the evidence is still out on that finding.
If the subsurface ocean existed, it could have greatly affected Pluto's history. For example, scientists found that the zone of Sputnik Planitia redirected Pluto's orientation due to the amount of ice in the area, which was so heavy it affected Pluto overall; New Horizons estimated the ice is roughly 6 miles 10 km thick.
A subsurface ocean is the best explanation for the evidence, the researchers added, although looking at less likely scenarios, a thicker ice layer or movements in the rock may be responsible for the movement.
If Pluto did have a liquid ocean, and enough energy, some scientists think Pluto could harbor life. Orbital characteristics Pluto's highly elliptical orbit can take it more than 49 times as far out from the sun as Earth.
Since the dwarf planet's orbit is so eccentric, or far from circular, Pluto's distance from the sun can vary considerably.The reason Pluto lost its planet status is not valid, according to new research from the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
Pluto (minor planet designation: 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. Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in and was originally considered to be the ninth planet from the Sun. Long ago, in the pre-iPhone dark ages of , Pluto was rebranded from its status as a planet and downgraded to dwarf planet classification, changing high school physics class forever.
Pluto: A Planet? Many issues have arisen from the debate whether or not Pluto is a planet. Some astronomers say that Pluto should be classified as a "minor planet" due to its size, physical characteristics, and other factors.
On the other hand, some astronomers defend Pluto's planet status, citing several key features.4/4(1). The reason Pluto lost its planet status is not valid, according to new research from the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
In , the International Astronomical Union, a global group of. Pluto’s orbit is both eccentric and inclined more than the rest of the planets by about 17 degrees. That’s suggests something is different about this object. This debate about whether to call it a planet or not is silly, because it doesn’t matter to Pluto what you call it.