Questions tagged [pluto]

Questions regarding the former 9th (now dwarf) planet Pluto.

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35 votes
3 answers
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Can Pluto be seen with the naked eye from Neptune when Pluto and Neptune are closest?

When Neptune and Pluto are closest, about 100 million mi (160 million km) from each other, would an observer on Neptune (or rather on one of its moons, since Neptune is gaseous) be able to see Pluto, ...
Plutos Loyer's user avatar
33 votes
2 answers
15k views

Did I see Pluto with my naked eye?

Early this morning going out on the balcony, I looked up on a star chart app to verify it was Jupiter I was seeing. Then I noticed the alignment of Mars, Saturn, and Pluto on the app. Never being able ...
Jason P Sallinger's user avatar
30 votes
3 answers
6k views

Pluto's orbit overlaps Neptune's, does this mean Pluto will hit Neptune sometime?

We know that the orbits of Pluto and Neptune overlap. This means that pluto sometimes crosses the orbit of Neptune; will Pluto hit Neptune in any circumstance?
ReNiSh AR's user avatar
  • 712
18 votes
1 answer
2k views

How did New Horizons take such well-lit pictures of Pluto?

The photos of Pluto from New Horizons are truly beautiful. But considering that Pluto is so far away from its nearest start - our Sun - how is it so well lit up? Did the New Horizons have a massive ...
CodyBugstein's user avatar
16 votes
10 answers
3k views

Is Pluto still a dwarf planet?

Recent news seem to suggest that astronomers are arguing about whether Pluto should become a planet again. However, I cannot find an official source for this. Is this actually true?
user2539's user avatar
  • 185
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Do Pluto and Charon have unusual Lagrange points?

The usual examples of Lagrange points one most commonly encounters, Sun-Earth and Earth-Moon Lagrange points, are examples of 3-body problems where $M_1\gg M_2\gg M_3$. The Pluto-Charon system, ...
Jerard Puckett's user avatar
14 votes
3 answers
7k views

What if Earth and Moon revolved around each other like Pluto and Charon?

What would be different for us if Earth and Moon revolved around each other like Pluto and Charon do?
cd1's user avatar
  • 249
12 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why is there a black stripe in the Hubble images of Pluto?

While reading reports about the New Horizons misson, I noticed an odd vertical, black stripe in the images of Pluto. Here is an example: Source: Hubble Discovers a Fifth Moon Orbiting Pluto (07.11....
Aaron Digulla's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
3k views

How bright is it on Pluto in the middle of the day? [duplicate]

I just saw a documentary about New Horizons and Pluto with plenty of photos New Horizon had taken of Pluto. All these photos were very bright, like Earth would be during the day. Considering the ...
d-b's user avatar
  • 349
10 votes
1 answer
309 views

Pluto- Current theories regarding its geological nature?

The images of New Horizons from Pluto will take more a year to arrive from space, for the moment with have some compressed images as a preview. Nasa has advanced some information regarding the ...
bandybabboon's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is Pluto a "proto-planet"?

My question is this : could the Charon-Pluto system becomes in the coming few millions years a full fledged planet, as in the IAU classification ? I ask this because there are two facts that bother ...
Cqoicebordel's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
436 views

Have Pluto or any of its moons been mapped?

I was looking over some of the data for the terrestrial planets, and noticed that Venus, despite its cloud covering, had been mapped by the Arecibo Observatory. Also that other planets such as mars, ...
Sarah Szabo's user avatar
  • 2,003
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why are there no stars on New Horizons images of Pluto

I followed the New Horizons Mission a little, and saw among others this image of Pluto: I wonder, why you can't see any stars on it. As far as my very basic knowledge in astronomy goes, I think you ...
muuh's user avatar
  • 261
8 votes
1 answer
579 views

Effect of Charon on Pluto

Even though Pluto is not known as a planet anymore, theroetically it has/had a moon, called Charon. I've heard about something that their size are so close to each other that while Charon rotates ...
Zoltán Schmidt's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
354 views

Could Pluto and Charon have extra-Solar origin?

Pluto and Charon seem to have surprisingly young surfaces, considering that resurfacing events were expected to be rare for them. Could the explanation be that they actually are young? Formed later ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
  • 11.4k
8 votes
1 answer
4k views

why does pluto have a high orbital inclination

Pluto has a high orbital inclination compared to the planets in our solar system. What has caused Pluto to have such a different orbit -- was it always like this, or did something happen to make it ...
Tara's user avatar
  • 81
8 votes
1 answer
136 views

Has New Horizon's data updated Charon's orbital elements?

For years I've been fascinated with the mutually tide-locked bodies Pluto and Charon. In July 2012, The Astronomical Journal published an article The Orbit of Charon Is Circular by Buie, Tholen and ...
HopDavid's user avatar
  • 1,412
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Does Pluto have impact craters?

I've heard from a lot of sources that Pluto doesn't seem to have any impact craters, but I see a few things that look like impact craters, highlighted in this picture: For comparison, here's ...
Jez's user avatar
  • 185
7 votes
4 answers
714 views

What was the definition of a planet before August 24, 2006?

In 2006, the IAU produced a definition of what it is to be a planet. This definition famously excludes Pluto, to the disarray of this small body's fans. Before this decision, what was the definition ...
usernumber's user avatar
  • 17.5k
6 votes
5 answers
899 views

Is the point of this paper to say that Pluto's status as a planet should have been handled scientifically, rather than by a vote?

The abstract of a paper currently in-press in Icarus: The Reclassification of Asteroids from Planets to Non-Planets (Metzger et al. 2018, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2018.08.026) says: It is ...
uhoh's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
578 views

Will Pluto ever clear its path?

I am not quite sure if it would, considering i'v looked through countless websites and found nothing and would like to know if it could clear its path and join the other planets?
quick's user avatar
  • 61
5 votes
1 answer
715 views

Does Pluto's atmosphere collapse?

There were theories that Pluto's atmosphere collapses when it gets too far from the sun. Then I've read papers that says that it doesn't. But NASA says that the surface pressure went down recently (...
gastronomer's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
897 views

What will New Horizons be able to say about a magnetic field at Pluto?

Does NASA's New Horizons flyby probe to Pluto have instruments to measure Pluto's (or Charon's) magnetic field, if any? I'm a bit confused by the Wikipedia article which says that New Horizons, ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
  • 11.4k
4 votes
1 answer
3k views

What's the temperature of Pluto's core?

The surface is freezing-nitrogen cold, but it's typical for the temperature to increase towards the core. What's the temperature of the core of Pluto? Is the planet icy and rocky all the way through? ...
user random numbers's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
432 views

How much more massive would Pluto have to be to clear its neighborhood?

How much more massive would Pluto have to be to clear its neighborhood?
SpaceDrooler's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
155 views

What's to be gained from the New Horizons mission once it's beyond the Kuiper Belt?

Now that we have seen what Pluto has to offer and New Horizons is headed to the Kuiper Belt, is there anything we can gain from the mission in interstellar space after it travels beyond the Kuiper ...
Nayrb's user avatar
  • 143
4 votes
1 answer
241 views

How many solar system objects that can really qualify as a KBO are likely to enter Pluto's Hill sphere each day?

A comment below Which celestial body is able to come closest to Pluto? says that Technically, many, many small Kuiper belt objects enter Pluto's Hill Sphere (or sphere of influence SOI) every day. ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 31.3k
4 votes
2 answers
300 views

Which celestial body is able to come closest to Pluto?

Other than Pluto's moons (including Charon), which known body comes closest to Pluto, and how close? Neptune doesn't come closer than 16 au. What about Orcus, whose orbit is similar to Pluto's, or ...
Plutos Loyer's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
571 views

How much are Neptune's and Uranus' orbits perturbed by Pluto and other KBOs?

Reading another question, I came across the argument that inconsistencies in Neptune's and Uranus' orbits lead to the discovery of Pluto. This brief write-up mentions Percival Lowell and William H. ...
userLTK's user avatar
  • 23.9k
4 votes
1 answer
105 views

How much is the zoom of Sun-Pluto eclipse image

The Sun-Pluto eclipse picture was taken from 2 million km from Pluto. At that distance, Pluto will have angular size of just 4'5". Hence this picture must be a zoomed up image. Approximately how much ...
rnso's user avatar
  • 291
4 votes
2 answers
24k views

Why are rocky and small planets nearer to the Sun whereas big, gas giants are farther?

Planets, including Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars are rocky planets and are small compared to gas giants. And all these planet are near to Sun. But mass is directly proportional to force. So why don'...
Mental Shakya's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
509 views

What places on Pluto and Charon are facing each other?

What places on Pluto and Charon are facing each other? Are Pluto and Charon perfectly tidally locked, or is there a slow rotation over time? And how long after formation should they have become ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
  • 11.4k
4 votes
1 answer
241 views

What theories are there in explaining the formation of the Pluto-Charon system?

After reading the question and answer to Effect of Charon on Pluto, a further question is this: how is the Pluto-Charon relationship explained? Specifically, what theories are there in how did the ...
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
749 views

What is the temperature on surface of Pluto facing Sun?

According to wiki page, the mean temperature of Pluto is 44 degree K (-229 degree C). However, given that Pluto is tilted greatly and there is daylight for long periods on part of Pluto facing the Sun ...
rnso's user avatar
  • 291
3 votes
2 answers
150 views

Can we learn anything from the chaotic movement of Hydra and Nix?

The NASA Visualization Explorer Moons In Chaos says Hydra and Nix, two of the moons of Pluto, show chaotic movement due to the shifting gravitational field. How long a day lasts and where the sun ...
Bahnhofstrasse's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
177 views

Can a probe orbit Pluto given Charon's gravity?

Is it possible for a man-made probe to orbit Pluto given its closeness to Charon? The gravitational field interaction of Pluto and Charon is likely to make simple orbit structure difficult for a man-...
rnso's user avatar
  • 291
3 votes
1 answer
180 views

Is the Tombaugh Regio on Pluto visible from Earth?

Is the Tombaugh Regio on Pluto discernably visible from Earth ground based or Earth orbiting telescopes? And more generally, can surface features seen in Hubble images be matched with images from New ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
  • 11.4k
3 votes
0 answers
708 views

How do I determine the velocity of Pluto at aphelion and perihelion?

I am a college astronomy student and I have to find the velocity of Pluto at aphelion and perihelion. I have found the distance of perihelion to be $1.96\times10^9$ km. Aphelion has a distance of $3....
Cerenkov's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
163 views

why the difference in resolution for images of Pluto?

Pluto was explored by the New Horizons probe. The most detailed images of Pluto's surface come from this flyby. But if you look at the images, there is one hemisphere where the images have a much ...
usernumber's user avatar
  • 17.5k
2 votes
2 answers
14k views

What is the resolution in megapixels of the Hubble Telescope?

What is the resolution in megapixels of the Hubble Telescope? The HST cannot see the planet Pluto clearly. Why is that?
RANSARA009's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
257 views

Closest point on Earth to a planet?

I'd like to be able to find the latitude and longitude on Earth (assuming a sphere is fine) which is closest to Pluto at the current time (or where Pluto is directly overhead). Is this possible with ...
Hugo's user avatar
  • 123
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

Shall we say now that Pluto is "larger than Mercury" ?

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=20150717-3 "Scientists working with NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft have observed Pluto’s atmosphere as far as 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) ...
Jonathan Dunn's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
2k views

When and where are Pluto and Neptune closest to each other?

I found two sources sort of answering this question, but conclusions I made of them contradict each other. https://www.reddit.com/r/askscience/comments/29jrvq/...
TStancek's user avatar
  • 175
2 votes
1 answer
2k views

Can Pluto and Neptune collide anytime in future? [duplicate]

We know that, the orbit of pluto ambiguously cuts the orbit of Neptune. I want to know, whether the revolving speed of Neptune is equal to the revolving speed of pluto. If not, is there a possibility ...
Aneek's user avatar
  • 123
2 votes
1 answer
147 views

What other definitions for a planet were proposed?

This article from the IAU states The first draft proposal for the definition of a planet was debated vigorously by astronomers at the 2006 IAU General Assembly in Prague and a new version slowly took ...
usernumber's user avatar
  • 17.5k
2 votes
1 answer
118 views

Why are there no more images revealed by New Horizon?

Since a few days after the flyby there are no more images published on the NASA page. Why is NASA waiting to publish any more images for some reason? Or is there something happened to New Horizon?
rubo77's user avatar
  • 201
2 votes
1 answer
349 views

Moment of inertia factor of Venus and Pluto

Wikipedia's Moment of inertia factor begins: In planetary sciences, the moment of inertia factor or normalized polar moment of inertia is a dimensionless quantity that characterizes the radial ...
Majoris's user avatar
  • 535
2 votes
2 answers
2k views

If Pluto is tidally locked with Charon, is its rotation still slowing down?

I know that a a planet or moon's rotation will slow down or speed up until it is tidally locked with a body, is Pluto's rotation being affected by the sun or is it being forced by Charon just to to be ...
StellarExile's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
75 views

Abundance of penitente ice formations in the solar system

When researching for my question on extraterresitral snow, I learned about a rare snow formation called penitente which seems to be found on various (dwarf) planets, like Earth, Mars, and Pluto. ...
B--rian's user avatar
  • 5,616
2 votes
0 answers
505 views

How long will it take Pluto to grow to planet size? [duplicate]

Pretty much everything in our solar system has collisions with smaller objects that lead to an increase in the mass of the larger. With Pluto being one of the largest things in the area of which it ...
James Jenkins's user avatar