Kiwanis Club of San Marcos

baker...Planet Facts....10/16/17

Facts About The Planet Pluto
 
1............In the first place, Pluto is a dwarf planet.  It travels around, or orbits, the sun just like other planets.  But it is much smaller.
2............Pluto is not very big.  It is only half as wide as the United States.  Pluto is smaller than Earth's moon.  This dwarf planet takes 248 Earth years to go around the sun.  If you lived on Pluto, you would have to wait 248 Earth years to celebrate your first birthday.  One day on Pluto is about 6 1/2 days on Earth.
3.............Pluto is about 40 times farther from the sun than Earth is Pluto is in an area of space called the Kuiper (KY-per) Belt.  Thousands  of small icy objects, like Pluto but smaller are in the Kuiper Belt.
4..............This dwarf planet has five moons.  Its largest moon is named Charon.  Charon is about half the size of Pluto.  Pluto's four other moons are named Kerberos, Styx, Nix and Hydra.
5...............Pluto has less gravity than Earth.  This means a person would weigh much less on Pluto than on Earth.
6...............NASA learns about Pluto from pictures taken with telescopes.  Pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope helped scientists find the four smaller moons.  
7...............NASA decided to send a spacecraft to fly close to Pluto.  The spacecraft's name is New Horizons.  It is only about the size of a piano.  New Horizon launched in January 2006.  In the summer of 2015, New Horizons flew by Pluto and its moons.  It took almost 10 years to travel that far from Earth.
8...............Scientists found out more about Pluto's smaller moons too.  They learned that Pluto's moons spin faster than other moons.  The moon Hydra spins 89 times for each time it orbits Pluto!  And the moons wobble like spinning tops.
9................Pluto is more than 3.7 billion miles from the sun.  Most planets orbit the sun in a near-circle.  The sun is in the center of the circle.  But Pluto does not orbit in a circle.  The orbit of Pluto is shaped like an oval.  And the sun is not in the center.  Pluto's orbit is also tilted.
10...............Pluto is 1,400 miles wide.  Pluto is about 230 degrees below zero.