Pluto: planet or asteroid

Pluto: planet or asteroid

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Pluto is a planet of the Solar system which does not have many points in common with what we live on but we must not snub it for this. Not even the fact that it's much smaller than the others is a good reason to avoid talking about it, so let's talk about it! Let's get to know its characteristics and find out why it is not among the most talked about.

Pluto: planet or asteroid

For some time there has been doubt about the fact that Pluto was to be considered as a planet, and not as an asteroid. Legitimate doubts, for heaven's sake, because in fact it has characteristics that could make us suspect. It is first of all a very small planet but, like all the "internal" ones of the solar system, it is a rocky planet, not gaseous as they are for example Jupiter or Neptune, or Saturn.

Being very different from other planets, however, some astronomers doubt that it formed with them. One of the "alternative" hypotheses put forward is the one he sees Pluto like a body that was in the vicinity of the Solar System and was captured by the Sun's gravity, remaining trapped in an orbit.

Planet Pluto: characteristics

In addition to being the last planet in the Solar System, Pluto it is also definitely the smallest, which is why it moves around the Sun along a very elliptical orbit. We can get an idea of ​​the distance involved by imagining that when this planet is at maximum distance from the Sun, is 52 times more from it than the Earth. When instead it is at the closest point, it is in the "sun" 30 times the Earth-Sun distance.

Planet Pluto: temperature

So far from the Sun, it is quite obvious that Pluto is a planet destined to be cold and dark since at that distance there is very little sunlight that can reach it. The remoteness from the Sun, and also the remoteness from the Earth, meant that Pluto was discovered really late compared to the other planets, even compared to those of more recent observation.

We have to wait until 1930 and the astronomer Tombaugh to make sure this planet exists. There were already hypotheses about his presence because "weird" had been noticed deviations in the orbits of Neptune and Uranus. Neptune, in turn, a few years earlier, was hypothesized and discovered in a very similar way.

Now that Pluto exists and is to be considered a planet of the Solar System, let's see how it moves. Its axis of rotation results tilted 122 degrees on its orbital plane, its orbit is inclined 17 degrees with respect to those of the other planets, which are all more or less on the same plane. It is a planet that is a bit "out of line", one might say. All these peculiar characteristics, combined with its particularly elliptical orbit, affect the times, the duration of a year of Pluto and one day.

In fact, to make a turn around the Sun this planet uses 248 years Pluto and in doing so penetrates into that of Neptune and remains there for about 20 years.

Planet Pluto: atmosphere

Let's see how it's done Pluto, internal planet therefore of a rocky type. It is small and also light since its mass is equal to two thousandths of that of the Earth. This causes the gravity is very weak, so much so that a 70 kg person on Pluto would weigh only 4 and a half. Something similar happens on the Moon but on Pluto the effect is even more marked; on our satellite, the same man would weigh a dozen kg.

Being a rocky planet, it is composed of made for 80% of rock, the remainder is made up of water and methane, frozen. What happens when the planet arrives in the part of the orbit closest, so to speak, to the Sun? A fraction of ice evaporates and around the planet a tenuous atmosphere is formed, a tenuous and "passing" atmosphere because it disappears as soon as Pluto moves away from the Sun, continuing along its extremely elliptical orbit.

Planet Pluto: curiosity

The curiosities about Pluto were revealed to us on Hubble Space Telescope that he was able to observe it without the earth's atmosphere getting in the way, disturbing his work. It was necessary to take advantage of the years in which the celestial body was relatively close to the Sun. Among the many discoveries, that of its satellite, a unique satellite called Charon. It is a small mass, one thirteenth of that of Pluto.

If the planet is not already large, let alone Charon which has a diameter about half its length. Having said that, we note that there is not a great difference between the two, compared to the one that is found between them and the other planets, which is why we often find ourselves considering Pluto and Charon as a system of two planets. In all other cases, with other planets as protagonists, in fact, the relative dimensions were not so close and the satellites were much smaller than the celestial body with which they were associated. Here, on the other hand, we have a satellite of comparable size, equipped among other things with a mix of water and methane frozen on its surface.

Distance Earth - Pluto

To convey the idea of ​​the distance between our Earth and Pluto let's talk about its average apparent magnitude which is 15.1, that at perihelion is 13.65. For those who know how to interpret these numbers it is easy to understand that the planet we are talking about is really difficult to see from the Earth, which justifies the fact that it took us so long to realize its existence.

Given its apparent magnitude, Pluto cannot be easily observed with small amateur instruments. Today, thanks to the increasingly widespread use of CCD in the amateur field, it is possible to acquire images not only of Pluto but also of Charon, only when it is at the maximum angular distance from Pluto.

Pluto in astrology

Out of curiosity, if we are not big fans of horoscopes, let's find out what role Pluto has in astrology and if it is a particular planet in this area too. It is related to mysterious force that acts in each of us, creative and destructive at the same time. Pluto is attributed a power of regeneration and profound transformation, it can help us to express our creativity but also make us become arrogant, destructive and abusive.

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Video: The First Real Images Of Pluto - What Have We Discovered? (July 2022).


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