Ten fun facts about Pluto
Fact 1Fact 4
It is the tenth-most-massive body observed directly orbiting the Sun.
It is the second-most-massive known dwarf planet, after Eris.
The name Pluto was proposed by an eleven-year-old schoolgirl named Venetia Burney in Oxford, England. She was interested in classical mythology and astronomy, and considered the name, a name for the god of the underworld, fit for such a presumably dark and cold world. The object was officially named on March 24, 1930.
In 1930, Walt Disney was apparently inspired by the planet Pluto when he introduced to the audience a canine companion named Pluto, although Disney animator Ben Sharpsteen could not confirm why the name was given.Fact 5
Like other Kuiper-belt objects, Pluto is composed primarily of rock and ice and is relatively small, approximately just one-sixth the mass of the Earth's Moon and one-third its volume.Fact 6
In 1941, Glenn T. Seaborg named the newly created element plutonium after Pluto, in keeping with the tradition of naming elements after newly discovered planets, following uranium, which was named after Uranus, and neptunium, which was named after Neptune.Fact 7
Discovered in 1930, Pluto was originally classified as the ninth planet from the Sun. However, its status as a major planet fell into question following further study of it and the outer Solar System over the ensuing 75 years.Fact 8
A number of scientists still believe that Pluto should have remained classified as a planet, and that other dwarf planets should be added to the roster of planets along with Pluto.Fact 9
Pluto has five known moons: Charon (the largest, with a diameter just over half that of Pluto), Nix, Hydra, Kerberos, and Styx.Fact 10
In 2015, the Pluto system is due to be visited by spacecraft for the first time. Go to more science facts ❯
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