Pluto, not to be confused with Micky Mouse’s dog, is going to be in the news a lot soon, as we are finally going to take a closer look to the elusive dwarf planet.
Discovered by Clyde Tombaugh on the 18th of February 1930, it is smaller than our Moon with a 1184 Km radius, versus our moon’s 1736 km radius, and lighter since it has only 18% the mass of our satellite. The surface area of Pluto is smaller than Russia.
It takes over 247 years to go around the Sun. Due to its highly eccentric orbit from 1979 until 1999 Pluto was closer to the Sun than Neptune. Pluto is currently about 4 and a half light hours away from Earth, or 4.7 billion kilometres.
Pluto has 5 moons all named after Greco-Roman features and inhabitants of the underworld: Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. Hydra is not a Tartarus creature per se, but it’s 9 heads were taken as a symbol for Pluto’s tenure as the 9th Planet.
Pluto & Charon form a unique and interesting system in that they have a case of mutual tidal locking: they both show the same face to each ...