QueSPER Research Projects

Planets in the Solar System

Dwarf Planets

Pluto

PlutoPluto

QueSPER Research Plan and Note-taking Worksheets

Pluto and Pluto's Moon Charon

 Pluto Printout

Pluto was discovered in 1930 and was considered a planet until August, 2006. Now Pluto is considered a dwarf planet.

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How far is Pluto from the Sun?
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Pluto is 3.6 billion miles from the sun.

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Pluto is  5.9 billion kilometers from the sun.

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The nearest planet to Pluto is Neptune.

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Pluto has a strange orbit that sometimes makes it closer to the Sun than Neptune.

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Pluto is in a group of ice structures known as the Kuiper belt.

 

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How big is Pluto? (What is its diameter?)
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Pluto is less than 1/5 the size of the Earth.

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Pluto's diameter is 1,430 miles or 2,290 kilometers.

 

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What is Pluto like?
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Pluto is made of rock and water ice and frozen methane (a gas).

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Pluto is very cold. Its temperature ranges between -369 and -387 F.

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Pluto has three moons. Their names are Charon, Nix and Hydra.

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Pluto was the first object discovered in the Kuiper belt.

 
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Why is this dwarf planet named Pluto?
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Pluto is named for the Roman god of the Dead, Pluto.

Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh (1906-1997). Astronomers noticed that the orbits of Neptune and Uranus were being affected by the gravity of an unknown object in our solar system. Clyde Tombaugh carefully studied images of the night sky and after a lot of hard work he finally discovered the  Pluto. Clyde Tombaugh was only 24 years old when he made this discovery.

 

bulletCan we see Pluto in the night sky?
bulletNot without a telescope.  It is too far away and too small.

*One AU is the distance from the center of the Earth to the center of the Sun.

Information on this page was taken from the following websites:

The-Solar-System.Net

Links to Other Sites

bulletExplore a Planet - Pluto
bullet Astronomy for Kids
bullet Pluto, the Ice Planet

Books and References

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Time for Kids Almanac 2003 with Information Please. NY: Time for Kids Books, 2002. RL 4.5 Dewey 031.02
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Farndon, John. The Giant Book of Space. Brookfield,CT: Copper Beech Bks, 2000. RL 4.5 Dewey 523.4

"The Solar System 12/2006: 8 Planets; The New Cosmic Order." Map Insert. National Geographic Magazine.  Dec., 2006.

Other Links to Sites

The Nine Planets

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