Stunning Image of Pluto

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Pluto was considered to be the ninth planet in our solar system. But in 2006, it was demoted, and reclassified as a dwarf planet. 

NASA recently shared an outstanding image on its instagram handle. The picture was taken by its New Horizons spacecraft. The photograph shows Pluto’s true colors. It was taken at a distance of 22,000 miles (approximately 35,455 km) from the planet. The photo displays its ‘heart’ – a gigantic glacier which is made of nitrogen and methane. The planet’s surface is coated in ice (made of water), methane, and nitrogen. It is expected to have a rocky core and deep ocean as well. 


NASA described the planet’s surface as cracked and catered, colored white, tan, and brownish-red. The white and tan descend at the top of the photograph to meet the brown-red surface. Meanwhile the partially visible ‘heart’ can be seen in white.

New Horizons, orbiting at a distance of 3.7 billion miles (5.9 billion km), is the first spacecraft to visit Pluto. It is expected to explore the Kuiper Belt. According to NASA, the region is full of small objects which are left over from the creation of our solar system. 

NASA shared the image of Pluto and captioned it as ‘Small planetary body Saturday?’. Giving the picture courtesy to New Horizons spacecraft, they said the ‘heart’ of the dwarf planet is of the size of a Texas-and-Oklahoma-sized glacier.

In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) downgraded the status of Pluto to that of a dwarf planet. It failed to meet the three criteria which IAU uses to define a full-sized planet. A dwarf planet is a celestial body which is in direct orbit of the Sun. It will be huge enough for its shape to be controlled by gravitational forces rather than mechanical forces. Its neighboring region will have other objects as well.

Pluto has a width of over 1,400 miles (2,250 km). It is equal to half the width of the United States or ⅔ the width of the Moon. The average temperature of Pluto is -387F (-232C). 

Pluto has other distinct features as well. According to Space.Com, the large heart-shaped region on the planet’s surface is unofficially known as Tombaugh Regio. The left side of the region which has the shape of an ice cream cone is filled with carbon monoxide ice. Several variations in the composition of surface materials have occurred within the ‘heart’ of Pluto.  


Read more:Biot-Savart Law

Check your knowledge

  Answer) Pluto.

Answer) International Astronomical Union.

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