Pluto – the wonder planet

planetsSince its discovery in the year nineteen thirty, Pluto was known to be the ninth planet in the solar system and the largest dwarf planet. The discovery of Eris in two thousand and six pushed Pluto to being the second largest dwarf planet in the solar system. It takes the tenth place as the largest dwarf planet that faces the orbit of the sun directly.

According to Greek mythology, Pluto was an underworld god. If the new definition of what a planet is, is anything to go by, Pluto falls far from being a planet, and the solar system will be left with only eight planets. This definition states that, a planet is an object that goes around the sun, and is huge enough to turn round due to the force of gravity that it can produce. Pluto is said to have four moons, the largest being Charon. Charon has being approximated to be only half the size of Pluto.

Pluto’s largest moon Charon, was discovered in the year nineteen seventy eight by James Christy. The discovery was almost half a century, since the discovery of Pluto. Its other moons are Nix and Hydra as well as the S/2011 P 1 otherwise known as the P4. Nix and hydra were discovered at the same time in June the year two thousand and five by Hubble Space Technology. The news of the discovery of these two moons was made on the thirty first of October two thousand and five.

Nix rotates in a circular motion the same way as Charon, but, contrary to Charon which orbits around Pluto for an approximate of six thousand three hundred and eighty seven days, Nix rotates around Pluto for only 24.9 days. One distinguishing difference between Nix and Hydra is that Nix is paler as compared to hydra which is much brighter. Nix obtains it name, according to Greek mythology, from the goddess of darkness and light.

Hydra on the other hand as per the Greco-Roman mythology, was a Snake with nine heads that fought with Hercules. It set to be visited by the New Horizons mission in July the year two thousand and fifteen, about three years from now. The size of hydra is not yet known, but according to the calculations that were done as per its brightness, it was said to be approximately sixty one diameters in case its geometric albedo is the same as that of Charon, which has thirty five per cent. It would have a diameter of one hundred and sixty seven kilometers if its ability to reflect was four per cent just like the Kuiper belt objects.

The P4, whose being came to the public eye on the twentieth of July the year twenty eleven, is so far Pluto’s latest moon to be discovered, Research, however, shows that there are other smaller moons around Nix and Hydra, although they have not yet been discovered. This makes P4 Pluto’s fourth moon. The controversy surrounding the fact of whether Pluto is a moon or a star is not about to go anywhere anytime soon, but still, Pluto remains to be a wonder planet or moon.

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