Skip to main content

Inside Dwarf Planet Pluto

Dwarf planet Pluto was discovered in 1930 and was once considered to be the ninth planet from the sun in Earth’s solar system.
(Image credit: Karl Tate, SPACE.com)

Discovered in 1930 and once considered a major planet, Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006.  Pluto is sometimes

considered a double planet system because its largest  moon, Charon, is about half Pluto’s size. It takes Pluto 248 years to orbit the Sun.

 

A temporary nitrogen-methane atmosphere forms when Pluto's surface ice thaws, when Pluto is closest to the sun.

 

Pluto’s rocky core is probably surrounded by a mantle of ice, with methane and nitrogen frost coating its surface.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Karl Tate
Karl's association with SPACE.com goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. Starting in 2010, Karl has been TechMediaNetwork's infographics specialist across all editorial properties.  Before joining SPACE.com, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating  news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Karl on Google+.