The planet Pluto was discovered on February 18, 1930, by Clyde W. Tombaugh. Pluto was considered the 9th planet of the Solar system until 2006. During that period the International Astronomical Union has declared planet Pluto is no longer qualified under the definition of Solar system and was re-classified as a “dwarf planet”. This article teaches a very simple fact of Pluto for Kids.
Pluto’s orbit is egg-shaped, it has a unique orbit, rather than a round or circular orbit, like the other 8 planets around the Sun.
Pluto has 5 moons, named Styx, Nix, Kerberos, Charon, and Hydra.
An important fact of Pluto for kids is that it was named by an 11-year-old Venetia Burney at Oxford. He suggested the name to his grandfather, who then passed the name to Lowell Observatory. Also, the name made sense as it had P and L as its first two letters, incidentally the initials of Percival Lowell who first observed the first hints of the planet.
Physical characteristics of Pluto
In July 2015 NASA’s New Horizons space probe made a historic flyby of Pluto, which opened new doors for the scientists, astronomers, and people to know about the dwarf planet. The flyby showed that the Pluto has Diameter of 1473 miles, which was more significant than what the scientists thought it was.
It includes the mountain range that is as high as 11,000 feet, like the Rocky Mountains on Earth.
Pluto is called as one of the coldest planet in the solar system with the temperature reaching minus 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
And changing Red color of the dwarf planet has led the scientists to believe that the Pluto might have seasons like Earth.
Mass : 1.31 × 10^22 kg (0.17 Moons)
Orbit Distance : 5,874,000,000 km (39.26 AU)
Orbit Period : 248.0 years
Surface Temperature : -229°C
Moons : 5
Discovery Date : February/18/1930
Discovered By : Clyde W. Tombaugh
Important Facts of Pluto for Kids
- Pluto’s Location: Pluto’s location was projected by Percival Lowell in 1915. The projections came from the deviations, Percival Lowell, initially observed in 1905 in the orbits of planet Neptune and Uranus.
- The Atmosphere of planet Pluto: As soon as planet Pluto orbit takes nearer to Sun, its surface ice thaws and forms a thin atmosphere mainly of nitrogen which gradually escapes the planet. Pluto has a methane haze that overs about 161 km above the surface. The methane is dissociated by sunlight into hydrocarbons which falls to the surface and coat the ice with a dark covering. When the planet Pluto travels away from the Sun, the atmosphere halts back to its solid state.
- Pluto Moons: The planet Pluto has five moons, they are Hydra, Nix, Charon, Kerberos, Styx.
- Planet Pluto has one third of water: This is in the form of water ice which is more than 3 times as much water as in all the Earth’s oceans as it is mentioned in the article “Kid Facts about Earth”. Remaining two third of Pluto is Rock. The surface of the planet Pluto is covered with dark and light regions, mountain ranges, and a scattering of craters.
- Largest dwarf planet: Planet Pluto once considered as 9th planet from the Sun. During 2006, Pluto has been re-classified as a dwarf planet in the Solar system.