A daily dose of Inspiration for you!

Today’s source of Inspiration is exploration and knowledge gained through exploration.  Our universe is filled with places to explore and much to learn.  Pluto and the Kuiper Belt are in orbit around the Sun.

 

Pluto has been classified as a planet and a dwarf planet at different times.  Astronomers have agreed on three conditions for objects to be considered a planet.  One, the object must be in orbit around the Sun.  Pluto is in orbit around the Sun.  Two, the object must be rounded by its own gravity.  Pluto meets this condition as well.  Three, the object must have cleared the area around its orbit.  Pluto does not meet this condition.  Pluto has significantly less mass than other objects in its orbit.  So Pluto’s classification has changed at times, however it is now considered a dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt.  The Kuiper belt is a ring of objects beyond Neptune.  It is the largest, although second-most-massive, known dwarf planet orbiting our Sun.

 

Pluto is made of ice and rock.  It is one-sixth the mass of the Moon.  The orbit of Pluto is unusual as it occasionally is closer to the Sun than Neptune.  The orbit takes 148 years to complete.  The path Neptune and Pluto take on their orbits prevent them from colliding however.  The rotation of Pluto takes over six Earth days to complete.  Like Uranus, Pluto rotates on the plane of the Solar System.  Seasons are extreme, with one-fourth of its surface in continuous daylight or continuous darkness.

 

Pluto was discovered in 1930.  Pluto has five known moons.  In 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft did a flyby of Pluto.  Most of its surface is composed of nitrogen ice, with traces of methane and carbon monoxide.  The color of Pluto varies from charcoal to dark orange and white.  Pluto does not have craters, however it has a variety of geological landforms.

 

New Horizons space probe and the Hubble Space Telescope have provided images.  There is much to learn about Pluto and the Kuiper belt.  Its distance is an important factor in its study.  Be inspired!  Have a bright day!

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