PLUTO


  • NAME
    God of the underworld (Greek: Hades)

  • ABOUT PLUTO
    The ninth planet and last to be discovered. Are there any
    more? There are probably some bodies orbiting the far
    reaches of the solar system. Whether we choose to call
    them planets remains to be seen. Pluto may just be the
    largest of a whole group of bodies on the fringe of the
    solar system. Not much is known of this world. There have
    been proposals to send spacecraft but none has been
    funded yet. It's composition is likely to be similar to the
    moons of the gas giants, such as Triton. It is probably ice
    and rock.

  • DISCOVERY DATE
    1930. As with the discovery of Neptune, there seemed to be
    something not quite right with the solar system. Something
    was still perturbing the outer planets. There must be a
    Planet X. Percival Lowell was pushing Planet X as much as he
    pushed his Mars theories. He would die before it's discovery.
    His observatory would continue the search. The
    astronomers were busy on other projects so they hired a
    Kansas farmboy named Clyde Tombaugh. He had impressed
    them with his drawings of the planets. Clyde Tombaugh would
    systematically photograph areas of the sky in search of the
    unknown planet. He would take two photos of the same
    region at different times and then compare the two looking
    for anything that moved. After an exhaustive search he
    finally found the planet Pluto.

  • MOONS
    Three as of 7/23/06 It's large moon is Charon.
    It was discovered in 1978 when James
    Christy noticed that Pluto had a bulge on a photographic
    plate. The bulge moved slowly around the planet. It must
    be a moon close to Pluto. The moon is almost as large
    as Pluto itself making it almost a double planet. This
    moon and Pluto combined does not seem to have enough
    mass to affect the outer planets. There may still be a
    Planet X lurking in the darkness. Only time will tell.

  • OBSERVING - NAKED EYE
    No chance. Not even an owl could see it with the naked eye.

  • OBSERVING - TELESCOPE
    It takes a moderate size telescope to see it at all. It is
    only a faint dot. It can only be distinguished for certain
    by making a drawing to determine if the faint dot you see
    moves. If it does, you have seen the ninth planet.


An artist's impression of Pluto and it's moon Charon.
The sun is small and weak from this far out.


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