Pluto no longer a planet
August 25, 2006
PLUTO was stripped of its status as a planet when scientists from around the world redefined it as a "dwarf planet", leaving just eight classical planets in the solar system. Discovered in 1930, Pluto has traditionally been considered the ninth planet, and farthest from the sun, in the solar system. 
However, the first definition of a planet approved after a heated debate among some 2500 scientists and astronomers drew a clear distinction between Pluto and the other eight planets. The need to define what it takes to be a planet stems from technological advances that enable astronomers to look further into space and to measure more precisely the size of celestial bodies in our solar system. 
In addition to the categories of “planet” and “dwarf planet”, the definition creates a third category to encompass all other objects, except satellites, to be known as small solar system bodies. 
“The eight planets are Mercury, Earth, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune,” said the IAU resolution, passed in a raised-hands vote after what, by the discreet standards of the astronomical community, was a stormy debate. 
Pluto's status had been contested for many years by astronomers who said that its tiny size and highly eccentric orbit precluded it from joining the other acknowledged planets. 
The anti-Pluto movement gained ground after the discovery of a distant object beyond Pluto's orbit called 2003 UB313, also known unofficially as Xena. Its discoverer said UB313 was as big as Pluto and thus could lay claim to being a planet. 
Pluto was discovered on February 18, 1930, by an American astronomer, Clyde Tombaugh, then aged 24. 
Named after the god of the underworld in classical mythology, it orbits the Sun at an average distance of 5,906,380,000km, taking 247.9 Earth years to complete a single circuit. 
An unmanned US spacecraft, New Horizons, is due to fly by Pluto and the Kuiper Belt in 2015. 

 PLUTO The most distant planet in our solar system,is so far away that the Sun is not much bigger or brighter than most of the other stars in its sky. Pluto also has a moon, Charon, that is nearly as big as the planet itself

Long considered to be the smallest, coldest, and most distant planet from the Sun, Pluto may also be the largest of a group of objects that orbit in a disk-like zone of beyond the orbit of Neptune called the Kuiper Belt. This distant region consists of thousands of miniature icy worlds with diameters of at least 1,000 km and is also believed to be the source of some comets.
Pluto is a very long way from the Sun. Its average distance from the Sun is over 3.5 billion (3,500,000,000) miles. The closest Pluto   gets to the Sun is over 2.7 billion (2,700,000,000) miles, and the furthest away it gets is over 4.5 billion (4,500,000,000) miles From Pluto, the Sun is not much brighter than any other star. Not only is Pluto a very long way from the Sun, but its orbit is tilted. If  you could look at our solar system from an "edge", most of the planets would be on a line like a table top, with the Sun being in the
  middle. This line, also called a plane, is the ecliptic, and the rest of the planets' orbits stay on this line. Pluto's orbit, though is tilted at an angle to the rest of the solar system. Since Pluto is so far away from the Sun, one of its years, which is the time it takes for the planet to go around the Sun once, is a very
  long time. A year on Pluto lasts for 248 Earth years! A day on Pluto, which is the length of time it takes for the planet to spin around once, is also longer than a day here on Earth. It takes Pluto over six Earth days to spin around once. Pluto is also one of the planets that spins around in the opposite direction from Earth. This means that the dim Sun would rise in the West and set in the East. 

 Can I See It?
      Probably not, even if you have a telescope. Pluto is so tiny, and so far away, that you will need a telescope that is at least ten inches in diameter. You will also need to know exactly where to look for it. If there is an observatory close to where you live, you might be able to see it through their telescope. Even if you can find the planet, it will be nothing more than a pinpoint of light among the stars. 

 How Big Is It?
      Pluto is the smallest planet in our solar system at a little over 1,300 miles in diameter, or about one-sixth the diameter of Earth. Put another way, if Earth was the size of a basketball, Pluto would be the size of a ping-pong ball. Many of the moons of other  planets, including our very own Moon, are larger than Pluto. 

 How Many Moons Does It Have?
      Pluto has one tiny moon, named Charon, that wasn't discovered until 1978. Charon is half the size of Pluto. No other moon in the solar system is as large, when compared to its mother planet, as Charon. Pluto and Charon are so similar in size that some astronomers think of them as a double planet. 

 How Did It Get Its Name?
      Pluto was discovered in 1930 by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh. After Neptune was discovered, astronomers noticed that something  was changing the orbits of Uranus and Neptune and decided that there must be another undiscovered planet that was causing  these changes. Mr. Tombaugh spent a long time taking photographs of the area of the sky where the unknown planet should be and finally discovered Pluto in one of the photographs. Pluto is the Roman god of darkness and the underworld. Perhaps Pluto got its  name because it is always in darkness. It may have also gotten its name from the fact that its symbol "PL" are the initials of  Percival Lowell, who founded the observatory where Mr. Tombaugh worked. 

 What Is It Made Of?
      Pluto is the only planet in our solar system that we have not explored with a spacecraft. What we know about the dark, frozen world is the result of many years of work by dedicated scientists here on Earth. The current studies tell us that Pluto is made up  of a mixture of rocks and several kinds of "ices". Scientists believe that most of the ices that make up Pluto are frozen methane  and ammonia. 

 What's It Like On The Surface?
      The surface of Pluto is very dark and extremely cold. Since the planet is so far away from the Sun, it gets almost no light or heat. Scientists believe that the temperature on the surface of the ninth planet over over four hundred degrees Fahrenheit below  zero. At this low temperature, almost everything freezes solid. Scientists here on Earth have determined that Pluto does have a very thin atmosphere, but it is far too thin to support any kind of life. is the ninth, or last, planet in the solar system. The orbit, or path the planet takes around our Sun is an ellipse, or stretched out circle. For this reason there are times when Pluto is the furthest away from the Sun. There are also times when it is closer to the Sun than Neptune. Right now, Pluto is the furthest planet.


Welcome to 
Rajesh Chopra's
Guest Book and comments Please

Press Information


This site is sponsored by
Copyright © 1998-2001 Live India Internet Services! All rights reserved

Legal Information
All rights reserved. No part of this publication and other sites of under may be transmitted or reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission from the publisher Live India Internet Services or Rajesh Chopra, L.C.Premium Cables, 1826, Amar Nath 2nd Building, Bhagirath Palace Delhi - 110006, India. or Mr.Rajesh Chopra is not responsible for any wrong information under this site, For confirmation of any information it is recommended that you can reconfirm from yours end

live India