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Pluto

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  • May 4, 2013
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Why Are We Alive
If you look closely on dark clear night you night catch the sight of some stars and even some planets. Although we can see some planets, they lay many light years away from us. The planet that is farthest from us, on Earth, is Pluto. Pluto was discovered by Clyde William Tombaugh on February 18, 1930. He worked as an astronomer at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona. Clyde named Pluto after the Greek and Roman God of wealth, who also ruled the mythical underworld of Greek lore.

Pluto is a very small planet, that’s why it is known as a dwarf planet. Even if you a normal telescope, you will only see a small dot. It lies in the Kuiper Belt about 3.67 billion years away from the sun. That’s why the astronomers have used the world’s biggest telescope to study what Pluto is made out of. From the astronomer’s observations, they have guessed that Pluto is made out of 98% nitrogen ice with some methane and carbon monoxide. Astronomers are also making predictions that Pluto has a rocky core surrounded by a shell of ice. Pluto does have an atmosphere. The dominating gas in Pluto’s atmosphere is nitrogen, carbon; monoxide and methane are also present. The dwarf planet’s atmosphere is affected by its temperature. Some changes in diameter also affect the atmosphere. It takes 247.9 years for Pluto to make one orbit around the sun, at an average speed of 10,623 miles per hour. It takes 6.4 Earth days or 153.6 hours for Pluto to rotate on its axis. The average surface temperature of surface temperature of Pluto is -380 Fahrenheit.

Pluto has three known moons, Charon, Nix, and Hydra. Charon is the largest of the moons, discovered in 1978. Nearly a century later the other two planets were discovered in May 2005 with the Hubble Space Telescope. Charon is almost half the size Pluto, about 1,212 km in diameter. It is so large that they are sometimes considered a double object. Unlike Pluto which is made of nitrogen and methane ices. Charon surface is made of...