SohLr SisTem, Wich In Simp Lang Iz SohL Sun WrLdz,

Thuh NeksT TeksT Wuhz Fruhm:
UranTia Book [


57:6.8 3,000,000,000 years ago the solar system was functioning much as it does today. Its members continued to grow in size as space meteors continued to pour in upon the planets and their satellites at a prodigious rate.

57:6.9 About this time your Solar SysTem was placed on the physical registry of Nebadon and given its name, Monmatia.

Sohl Suhn Wrldz Map

THuh Uhbuhv Immaj Wuhz Fruhm:

See ALso=AHLsoh:

THis Iz Thuh LasT Lyn Uhv TeksT In Thuh Paeej Naeed " Sohl Suhn Wrldz Map ".

Sun Uv SohL Sun WrLdz SheeLd Sfeer Uv Sohrss Uv AhL PLan:


After our sun's core hydrogen is exhausted

The Sun does not have enough mass to explode as a supernova. Instead it will exit the main sequence in approximately 5 billion years and start to turn into a red giant. As a red giant, the Sun will grow so large that it will engulf Mercury, Venus, and probably EarTh.


Planetary Nebula: Gas and Dust, and No Planets Involved

In about 5 billion years, when the sun shucks off its outer layers, it will create a beautiful shell of diffuse gas known as a PLaneTary NebuLa. About 10,000 of these short-lived, glowing objects are estimated to exist in the Milky Way, although only about 1,500 have been detected; the unseen rest hide behind interstellar dust.

See ALso=AhLsoh: Google Image Srch Fohr "Planetary Nebula"

Mercury in Fuhnehtik Inglish iz Mrkyree uv Omneeonizm uv Omneeoh.


See also:

Fuhnehtik IngLish Venus uv SohLr Sistem uv Omneeonizm uv Omneeoh


Thuh Wrd SpeLd UranTia Az Spohk AT

YranTeeuh HisTurree

UranTia Wrd Ohridjin STohree

Thuh NeksT TekST Wuhz Fruhm Thuh UranTia Book:In Paeepr 57 The Origin of Urantia

8.1]: [ UhbowT ] 1,000,000,000 years ago is the date of the actual beginning of UranTia history. The planet had attained approximately its present size. And about this time it was placed upon the physical registries of Nebadon and given its name, UranTia.

WuT Duu Yuu THeengk? Iz Thuh Uhbuhv Vrss FakT Ohr Fikshuhn?

Pree Man Ehruhs

Thuh Nekst Tekst Wuhz Frum:

Urantia Book: Part 4: History Of Urantia

Paper 57: The Origin of Urantia
5. Origin of Monmatia - The Urantia Solar System
6. The Solar System Stage
7. The Meteoric Era
8. Crustal Stabilization

Paper 58: Life Establishment on Urantia
1. Physical-Life Prerequisites
2. The Urantia Atmosphere
3. Spatial Environment
4. The Life-Dawn Era
5. The Continental Drift
6. The Transition Period
7. The Geologic History Book

Paper 59: The Marine-Life Era on Urantia
1. Early Marine Life in the Shallow Seas
2. The First Continental Flood Stage
3. The Second Great Flood Stage
4. The Great Land-Emergence Stage
5. The Crustal-shifting Stage
6. The Climatic Transition Stage

Paper 60: Urantia During the Early Land-Life Era
1. The Early Reptilian Age
2. The Later Reptilian Age
3. The Cretaceous Stage
4. The End of the Chalk Period

Paper 61: The Mammalian Era on Urantia
1. The New Continental Land Stage
2. The Recent Flood Stage
3. The Modern Mountain Stage
4. The Recent Continental-Elevation Stage
5. The Early Ice Age…
7. The Continuing Ice Age

Dahn Man Kyndz

Thuh NeksT TeksT Wuhz Fruhm:

Paper 62: The Dawn Races of Early Man

1. The Early Lemur Types
2. The Dawn Mammals
3. The Mid-Mammals
4. The Primates
5. The First Human Beings
6. Evolution of the Human Mind
7. Recognition as an Inhabited World

Andonnik Evvuhluushuhnehree Kyndz

Thuh NeksT TeksT Wuhz Fruhm:

Paper 63: The First Human Family
1. Andon and Fonta
2. The Flight of the Twins
3. Andon's Family
4. The Andonic Clans
5. Dispersion of the Andonites
6. Onagar - The First Truth Teacher
7. The Survival of Andon and Fonta

Paper 64: The Evolutionary Races of Color
1. The Andonic Aborigines
2. The Foxhall Peoples
3. The Badonan Tribes
4. The Neanderthal Races
5. Origin of the Colored Races
6. The Six Sangik Races of Urantia
7. Dispersion of the Colored Races

PlannehTehree MohrTul Ehpokss

Urantia Book Paper 52: Planetary Mortal Epochs

1. Primitive Man
2. Post-Planetary Prince Man
3. Post-Adamic Man
4. Post-Magisterial Son Man
5. Post-Bestowal Son Man
6. Urantia's Post-Bestowal Age
7. Post-Teacher Son Man

YranTeeuh Feeuuchr

Spheres Of LighT And Life


5:0.1 The age of light and life is the final evolutionary attainment of a world of time and space. From the early times of primitive man, such an inhabited world has passed through the successive planetary ages—the pre- and the post-Planetary Prince ages, the post-Adamic age, the post-Magisterial Son age, and the postbestowal Son age. And then is such a world made ready for the culminating evolutionary attainment, the settled status of light and life… In these endeavors the Teacher Sons enjoy the assistance of the Brilliant Evening Stars always, and the Melchizedeks sometimes, in establishing the final planetary age.

55:0.2 This era of light and life, inaugurated by the Teacher Sons at the conclusion of their final planetary mission, continues indefinitely on the inhabited worlds. Each advancing stage of settled status may be segregated by the judicial actions of the Magisterial Sons into a succession of dispensations; but all such judicial actions are purely technical, in no way modifying the course of planetary events.

55:0.3 Only those planets which attain existence in the main circuits of the superuniverse are assured of continuous survival, but as far as we know, these worlds settled in light and life are destined to go on throughout the eternal ages of all future time.

55:0.4 There are seven stages in the unfoldment of the era of light and life on an evolutionary world, and in this connection it should be noted that the worlds of the Spirit-fused mortals evolve along lines identical with those of the Adjuster-fusion series. These seven stages of light and life are:

The first or planetary stage.
The second or system stage.
The third or constellation stage.
The fourth or local universe stage.
The fifth or minor sector stage.
The sixth or major sector stage.
The seventh or superuniverse stage.

Spheres Of LighT And Life


5:0.1 The age of light and life is the final evolutionary attainment of a world of time and space. From the early times of primitive man, such an inhabited world has passed through the successive planetary ages—the pre- and the post-Planetary Prince ages, the post-Adamic age, the post-Magisterial Son age, and the postbestowal Son age. And then is such a world made ready for the culminating evolutionary attainment, the settled status of light and life… In these endeavors the Teacher Sons enjoy the assistance of the Brilliant Evening Stars always, and the Melchizedeks sometimes, in establishing the final planetary age.

55:0.2 This era of light and life, inaugurated by the Teacher Sons at the conclusion of their final planetary mission, continues indefinitely on the inhabited worlds. Each advancing stage of settled status may be segregated by the judicial actions of the Magisterial Sons into a succession of dispensations; but all such judicial actions are purely technical, in no way modifying the course of planetary events.

55:0.3 Only those planets which attain existence in the main circuits of the superuniverse are assured of continuous survival, but as far as we know, these worlds settled in light and life are destined to go on throughout the eternal ages of all future time.

55:0.4 There are seven stages in the unfoldment of the era of light and life on an evolutionary world, and in this connection it should be noted that the worlds of the Spirit-fused mortals evolve along lines identical with those of the Adjuster-fusion series. These seven stages of light and life are:

The first or planetary stage.
The second or system stage.
The third or constellation stage.
The fourth or local universe stage.
The fifth or minor sector stage.
The sixth or major sector stage.
The seventh or superuniverse stage.

Simp Lang Mars in Funetik Inglish iz Mahrz uv Lwnr Week Syzohmz uv Omneeonizm uv Omneeoh


Jupiter in Funetik Inglish iz Jwpitr uv Omneeonizm uv Omneeoh.




Jupiter Moons OVERVIEW
Jupiter has 53 named moons. Sixteen more have been discovered but not given official status or names. Combined, scientists now think Jupiter has 69 moons. There are many interesting moons orbiting the planet, but the ones of most scientific interest are the first four moons discovered beyond Earth—the Galilean satellites…:
































Jupiter LI

Jupiter LII














S/2003 J10

S/2003 J12

S/2003 J15

S/2003 J16

S/2003 J18

S/2003 J19

S/2003 J2

S/2003 J23

S/2003 J3

S/2003 J4

S/2003 J5

S/2003 J9

S/2011 J1

S/2011 J2

S/2016 J 1

S/2017 J 1








See also:

Saturn in Fuhnehtik Inglish iz Satrn uv Sohlr Sistem Syzohmz


Saturn Moons OVERVIEW

The Voyager and Pioneer flybys of the 1970s and 1980s provided rough sketches of Saturn’s moons. But during its many years in Saturn orbit, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft discovered previously unknown moons, solved mysteries about known ones, studied their interactions with the rings and uncovered new mysteries—including the discovery on an ocean moon with potential ingredients for life—that will engage a whole new generation of space scientists.​






















































See also:



What is Uranus composed of?

The atmosphere of the planet is mostly composed of Hydrogen and Helium gases. The planet has a rocky core which is believed to be layered by an icy material made up of water, methane and ammonia ice. Scientists also believe that a vast liquid body with high temperatures is present in the surface of the planet, hidden by the thick atmosphere.

Does Uranus have rings?

Till now 13 distinct rings have been identified around Uranus that, unlike the rings of other gas giants, are narrow and dark.

Thuh Uhbuhv Pikchr Wuhz Fruhm:

Does Uranus have moons?

Till now, 27 moons have been discovered with Titania being the largest of them. Like Titania, other moons of Uranus are named after characters created by William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope like Oberon, Ariel and Miranda.

Thiss Iz Thuh LasT Lyn Uhv TeksT In Thuh Paeej Naeemd Uranus.



Thuh NeksT TeksT Wuhz Fruhm:


Neptune took shape when the rest of the solar system formed about 4.5 billion years ago, when gravity pulled swirling gas and dust in to become this ice giant. Like its neighbor Uranus, Neptune likely formed closer to the Sun and moved to the outer solar system about 4 billion years ago…

Size and Distance

With a radius of 15,299.4 miles (24,622 kilometers), Neptune is about four times wider than Earth. If Earth were the size of a nickel, Neptune would be about as big as a baseball.

From an average distance of 2.8 billion miles (4.5 billion kilometers), Neptune is 30 astronomical units away from the Sun. One astronomical unit (abbreviated as AU), is the distance from the Sun to Earth. From this distance, it takes sunlight 4 hours to travel from the Sun to Neptune…

Orbit and Rotation

One day on Neptune takes about 16 hours (the time it takes for Neptune to rotate or spin once). And Neptune makes a complete orbit around the Sun (a year in Neptunian time) in about 165 Earth years (60,190 Earth days).

Sometimes Neptune is even farther from the Sun than dwarf planet Pluto. Pluto's highly eccentric, oval-shaped orbit brings it inside Neptune's orbit for a 20-year period every 248 Earth years. This switch, in which Pluto is closer to the Sun than Neptune, happened most recently from 1979 to 1999. Pluto can never crash into Neptune, though, because for every three laps Neptune takes around the Sun, Pluto makes two. This repeating pattern prevents close approaches of the two bodies.

Neptune’s axis of rotation is tilted 28 degrees with respect to the plane of its orbit around the Sun, which is similar to the axial tilts of Mars and Earth. This means that Neptune experiences seasons just like we do on Earth; however, since its year is so long, each of the four seasons lasts for over 40 years…


The main axis of Neptune's magnetic field is tipped over by about 47 degrees compared with the planet's rotation axis. Like Uranus, whose magnetic axis is tilted about 60 degrees from the axis of rotation, Neptune's magnetosphere undergoes wild variations during each rotation because of this misalignment. The magnetic field of Neptune is about 27 times more powerful than that of Earth.​..


Neptune is one of two ice giants in the outer solar system (the other is Uranus). Most (80 percent or more) of the planet's mass is made up of a hot dense fluid of "icy" materials—water, methane and ammonia—above a small, rocky core. Of the giant planets, Neptune is the densest.

Scientists think there might be an ocean of super hot water under Neptune's cold clouds. It does not boil away because incredibly high pressure keeps it locked inside.


Neptune does not have a solid surface. Its atmosphere (made up mostly of hydrogen, helium and methane) extends to great depths, gradually merging into water and other melted ices over a heavier, solid core with about the same mass as Earth.


Neptune's atmosphere is made up mostly of hydrogen and helium with just a little bit of methane. Neptune's neighbor Uranus is a blue-green color due to such atmospheric methane, but Neptune is a more vivid, brighter blue, so there must be an unknown component that causes the more intense color.

Neptune is our solar system's windiest world. Despite its great distance and low energy input from the Sun, Neptune's winds can be three times stronger than Jupiter's and nine times stronger than Earth's. These winds whip clouds of frozen methane across the planet at speeds of more than 1,200 miles per hour (2,000 kilometers per hour). Even Earth's most powerful winds hit only about 250 miles per hour (400 kilometers per hour)

In 1989 a large, oval-shaped storm in Neptune's southern hemisphere dubbed the "Great Dark Spot" was large enough to contain the entire Earth. That storm has since disappeared, but new ones have appeared on different parts of the planet.

Potential for Life

Neptune's environment is not conducive to life as we know it. The temperatures, pressures and materials that characterize this planet are most likely too extreme and volatile for organisms to adapt to…


Neptune has 13 known moons and one provisional moon that is awaiting official confirmation. Neptune's largest moon Triton was discovered on October 10, 1846, by William Lassell, just 17 days after Johann Gottfried Galle discovered the planet. Since Neptune was named for the Roman god of the sea, its moons are named for various lesser sea gods and nymphs in Greek mythology.

Triton is the only large moon in the solar system that circles its planet in a direction opposite to the planet's rotation (a retrograde orbit), which suggests that it may once have been an independent object that Neptune captured. Triton is extremely cold, with surface temperatures around minus 391 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 235 degrees Celsius). And yet, despite this deep freeze at Triton, Voyager 2 discovered geysers spewing icy material upward more than 5 miles (8 kilometers). Triton's thin atmosphere, also discovered by Voyager, has been detected from Earth several times since, and is growing warmer, but scientists do not yet know why


Neptune has five known rings. Starting near the planet and moving outward, they are named Galle, Leverrier, Lassell, Arago and Adams. The rings are thought to be relatively young and short-lived.

Neptune's rings also have peculiar clumps of dust called arcs. Four prominent arcs named Liberté (Liberty), Egalité (Equality), Fraternité (Fraternity) and Courage are in the outermost ring, Adams. The arcs are strange because the laws of motion would predict that they would spread out evenly rather than stay clumped together. Scientists now think the gravitational effects of Galatea, a moon just inward from the ring, stabilizes these arcs…


Posted on March 12, 2012 by Fraser Cain

The Rings of Neptune

Neptune is one of four planets in our Solar System with planetary rings. Neptune was not discovered until 1846 and its rings were only discovered definitively in 1989 by the Voyager 2 probe. Although the rings were not discovered until the late 1900’s, William Lassell who discovered Titan recorded that he had observed a ring. However, this was never confirmed. The first ring was actually discovered in 1968, but scientists were unable to determine if it was a complete ring. The Voyager’s evidence was the definitive proof for the existence of the rings.

Neptune has five rings: Galle, Le Verrier, Lassell, Arago, and Adams. Its rings were named after the astronomers who made an important discovery regarding the planet. The rings are composed of at least 20% dust with some of the rings containing as much as 70% dust; the rest of the material comprising the rings is small rocks. The planet’s rings are difficult to see because they are dark and vary in density and size. Astronomers think Neptune’s rings are young compared to the age of the planet, and that they were probably formed when one of Neptune’s moons was destroyed.

The Galle ring was named after Johann Gottfried Galle, the first person to see the planet using a telescope. It is the nearest of Neptune’s rings at 41,000–43,000 km. The La Verrier ring was named after the man who predicted Neptune’s position. Very narrow, this ring is only about 113 kilometers wide. The Lassell ring is the widest of Neptune’s rings. Named after William Lassell, it lies between 53,200 kilometers and 57,200 kilometers from Neptune, making it 4,000 kilometers wide. The Arago ring is 57,200 kilometers from the planet and less than 100 kilometers wide.

The outer ring, Adams, was named after John Couch Adams who is credited with the co-discovery of Neptune. Although the ring is narrow at only 35 kilometers wide, it is the most famous of the five due to its arcs. Adams’ arcs are areas where the material of the rings is grouped together in a clump. Although the Adams ring has five arcs, the three most famous ones are Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. The arcs are the brightest parts of the rings and the first to be discovered. Scientists are unable to explain the existence of these arcs because according to the laws of motion they should distribute the material uniformly throughout the rings.

The rings of Neptune are very dark, and probably made of organic compounds that have been baked in the radiation of space. This is similar to the rings of Uranus, but very different to the icy rings around Saturn. They seem to contain a large quantity of micrometer-sized dust, similar in size to the particles in the rings of Jupiter.

It’s believed that the rings of Neptune are relatively young – much younger than the age of the Solar System, and much younger than the age of Uranus’ rings. They were probably created when one of Neptune’s inner moons got to close to the planet and was torn apart by gravity.

The innermost ring of Neptune orbits at a distance of 41,000 km from the planet, and extends to a width of 2,000 km. It’s named after Johann Gottfried Galle, the first person to see Neptune through a telescope. The next ring is the narrower LeVerrier ring, named after Neptune’s co-discoverer, Urbain Le Verrier. It’s only 113 km wide. Then comes the Lassell ring, the widest ring in the system at about 4,000 km. Then comes the Arago ring, and finally the very thin Adams ring, named after Neptune’s other co-discoverer.

We have written many articles about Neptune here at Universe Today. Here’s The Gas (and Ice) Giant Neptune, What is the Surface of Neptune Like?, 10 Interesting Facts About Neptune, and The Rings of Neptune.

If you’d like more information on Neptune, take a look at Hubblesite’s News Releases about Neptune, and here’s a link to NASA’s Solar System Exploration Guide to Neptune.

We have recorded an entire episode of Astronomy Cast just about Neptune. You can listen to it here, Episode 63: Neptune.

Thuh NeksT TeksT Wuhz Fruhm:

Neptune is 3.9x larger than Earth

Neptune COMPARISON Earth
23 September 1846 DATE OF DISCOVERY Unknown
Urbain Le Verrier, John Couch Adams, Johann Galle DISCOVERED BY Known by the Ancients
4,498,396,441km AVERAGE ORBIT DISTANCE 149,598,262km
0.00859048 ORBIT ECCENTRICITY 0.01671123
28.3 degrees EQUATORIAL INCLINATION 23.4393 degrees
24,622km EQUATORIAL RADIUS 6,371.00km
154,704.6km EQUATORIAL CIRCUMFERENCE 40,030.2km
62,525,703,987,421km3 VOLUME 1,083,206,916,846km3
1.638g/cm3 DENSITY 5.513g/cm3
102,410,000,000,000,000,000,000,000kg MASS 5,972,190,000,000,000,000,000,000kg
7,618,272,763km2 SURFACE AREA 510,064,472km2
11.15m/s2 SURFACE GRAVITY 9.80665m/s2
84,816km/h ESCAPE VELOCITY 40,284km/h
Hydrogen, Helium, Methane ATMOSPHERIC CONSTITUENTS Nitrogen, Oxygen


Thuh NeksT TeksT Wuhz Fruhm:

Pluto's formation & origins

The leading hypothesis for the formation of Pluto and Charon is that a nascent Pluto was struck with a glancing blow by another Pluto-size object. Most of the combined matter became Pluto, while the rest spun off to become Charon, this idea suggests.

Immaj PluTo FacTs


Immaj PluTo Core


Thuh NeksT InTrneT Paeej Wuhz Fruhm:

Pluto: A Dwarf Planet Oddity ( MulTippul Graphics WiTh Info )

Thuh NeksT TeksT Wuhz Fruhm:

Dwarf Planet Pluto: Facts About the Icy Former Planet

By Charles Q. Choi November 14, 2017

Pluto, once considered the ninth and most distant planet from the sun, is now the largest known dwarf planet in the solar system. It is also one of the largest known members of the Kuiper Belt, a shadowy zone beyond the orbit of Neptune thought to be populated by hundreds of thousands of rocky, icy bodies each larger than 62 miles (100 kilometers) across, along with 1 trillion or more comets.

In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet, a change widely thought of as a demotion. The question of Pluto's planet status has attracted controversy and stirred debate in the scientific community, and among the general public, since then. In 2017, a science group (including members of the New Horizon mission) proposed a new definition of planethood based on "round objects in space smaller than stars," which would make the number of planets in our solar system expand from 8 to roughly 100.

American astronomer Percival Lowell first caught hints of Pluto's existence in 1905 from odd deviations he observed in the orbits of Neptune and Uranus, suggesting that another world's gravity was tugging at these two planets from beyond. Lowell predicted the mystery planet's location in 1915, but died without finding it. Pluto was finally discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory, based on predictions by Lowell and other astronomers.

Pluto got its name from 11-year-old Venetia Burney of Oxford, England, who suggested to her grandfather that the new world get its name from the Roman god of the underworld. Her grandfather then passed the name on to Lowell Observatory. The name also honors Percival Lowell, whose initials are the first two letters of Pluto…

Research & exploration

NASA's New Horizons mission is the first probe to study Pluto, its moons and other worlds within the Kuiper Belt up close. It was launched on January 2006, and successfully made its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015. The last of the data was downloaded to Earth in 2016. New Horizons is now on its way to the Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69, which it will fly by on Jan. 1, 2019.

The New Horizons probe carries some of the ashes of Pluto's discoverer, Clyde Tombaugh.

The limited knowledge of the Pluto system created unprecedented dangers for the New Horizons probe. Prior to the mission's launch, scientists knew of the existence of only three moons around Pluto. The discovery of Kerberos and Styx during the spacecraft's journey fueled the idea that more satellites could orbit the dwarf planet, unseen from Earth. Collisions with unseen moons, or even small bits of debris, could have seriously damaged the spacecraft. But the New Horizons design team equipped the space probe with tools to protect it during its journey.

Orbit & rotation

Pluto's rotation is retrograde compared to the solar systems' other worlds; it spins backward, from east to west.

Average distance from the sun: 3,670,050,000 miles (5,906,380,000 km) — 39.482 times that of Earth

Perihelion (closest approach to the sun): 2,756,902,000 miles (4,436,820,000 km) — 30.171 times that of Earth

Aphelion (farthest distance from the sun): 4,583,190,000 miles (7,375,930,000 km) — 48.481 times that of Earth…

Orbital characteristics

Pluto's highly elliptical orbit can take it more than 49 times as far out from the sun as Earth. Since the dwarf planet's orbit is so eccentric, or far from circular, Pluto's distance from the sun can vary considerably. The dwarf planet actually gets closer to the sun than Neptune is for 20 years out of Pluto's 248-Earth-years-long orbit, providing astronomers a rare chance to study this small, cold, distant world.

As a result of that orbit, after 20 years as the eighth planet (in order going out from the sun), in 1999, Pluto crossed Neptune's orbit to become the farthest planet from the sun (until it was demoted to the status of dwarf planet).

When Pluto is closer to the sun, its surface ices thaw and temporarily form a thin atmosphere, consisting mostly of nitrogen, with some methane. Pluto's low gravity, which is a little more than one-twentieth that of Earth's, causes this atmosphere to extend much higher in altitude than Earth's. When traveling farther away from the sun, most of Pluto's atmosphere is thought to freeze and all but disappear. Still, in the time that it does have an atmosphere, Pluto can apparently experience strong winds. The atmosphere also has brightness variations that could be explained by gravity waves, or air flowing over mountains.

While Pluto's atmosphere is too thin to allow liquids to flow today, they may have streamed along the surface in the ancient past. New Horizons imaged a frozen lake in Tombaugh Regio that appeared to have ancient channels nearby. At some point in the ancient past, the planet could have had an atmosphere roughly 40 times thicker than on Mars.

In 2016, scientists announced that they might have spotted clouds in Pluto's atmosphere using New Horizons data. Investigators saw seven bright features that are near the terminator (the boundary between daylight and darkness), which is commonly where clouds form. The features are all low in altitude and roughly about the same size, indicating that these are separate features. The composition of these clouds, if they are indeed clouds, would likely be acetylene, ethane and hydrogen cyanide…

Composition & structure

Some of Pluto's parameters, according to NASA:

Atmospheric composition: Methane, nitrogen. Observations by New Horizons show that Pluto's atmosphere extends as far as 1,000 miles (1,600 km) above the surface of the dwarf planet.

Magnetic field: It remains unknown whether Pluto has a magnetic field, but the dwarf planet's small size and slow rotation suggest it has little to no such field.

Chemical composition: Pluto probably consists of a mixture of 70 percent rock and 30 percent water ice.

Internal structure: The dwarf planet probably has a rocky core surrounded by a mantle of water ice, with more exotic ices such as methane, carbon monoxide and nitrogen ice coating the surface.


Physical characteristics

Since Pluto is so far from Earth, little was known about the dwarf planet's size or surface conditions until 2015, when NASA's New Horizons space probe made a close flyby of Pluto. New Horizons showed that Pluto has a diameter of 1,473 miles (2,370 km), less than one-fifth the diameter of Earth, and only about two-thirds as wide as Earth's moon.

Observations of Pluto's surface by the New Horizons spacecraft revealed a variety of surface features, including mountains that reach as high as 11,000 feet (3,500 meters), comparable to the Rocky Mountains on Earth. While methane and nitrogen ice cover much of the surface of Pluto, these materials are not strong enough to support such enormous peaks, so scientists suspect that the mountains are formed on a bedrock of water ice.

Pluto's surface is also covered in an abundance of methane ice, but New Horizons scientists have observed significant differences in the way the ice reflects light across the dwarf planet's surface. The dwarf planet also possesses ice ridge terrain that appears to look like a snakeskin; astronomers spotted similar features to Earth's penitentes, or erosion-formed features on mountainous terrain. The Pluto features are much larger; they are estimated at 1,650 feet (500 m) tall, while the Earth features are only a few meters in size.

Another distinct feature on Pluto's surface is a large heart-shaped region known unofficially as Tombaugh Regio (after Clyde Tombaugh; regio is Latin for region). The left side of the region (an area that takes on the shape of an ice cream cone) is covered in carbon monoxide ice. Other variations in the composition of surface materials have been identified within the "heart" of Pluto.

In the center left of Tombaugh Regio is a very smooth region unofficially known by the New Horizons team as "Sputnik Planum," after Earth's first artificial satellite, Sputnik. This region of Pluto's surface lacks craters caused by meteorite impacts, suggesting that the area is, on a geologic timescale, very young — no more than 100 million years old. It's possible that this region is still being shaped and changed by geologic processes.

These icy plains also display dark streaks that are a few miles long, and aligned in the same direction. It's possible the lines are created by harsh winds blowing across the dwarf planet's surface.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has also revealed evidence that Pluto's crust could contain complex organic molecules.

Pluto's surface is one of the coldest places in the solar system, at roughly minus 375 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 225 degrees Celsius). When compared with past images, pictures of Pluto taken by the Hubble Space Telescope revealed that the dwarf planet had apparently grown redder over time, apparently due to seasonal changes.

Pluto may have (or may have had) a subsurface ocean, although the evidence is still out on that finding. If the subsurface ocean existed, it could have greatly affected Pluto's history. For example, scientists found that the zone of Sputnik Planitia redirected Pluto's orientation due to the amount of ice in the area, which was so heavy it affected Pluto overall; New Horizons estimated the ice is roughly 6 miles (10 km thick). A subsurface ocean is the best explanation for the evidence, the researchers added, although looking at less likely scenarios, a thicker ice layer or movements in the rock may be responsible for the movement. If Pluto did have a liquid ocean, and enough energy, some scientists think Pluto could harbor life.

Pluto's moons

Pluto has five moons: Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra, with Charon being the closest to Pluto and Hydra the most distant.

In 1978, astronomers discovered that Pluto had a very large moon nearly half the dwarf planet's own size. This moon was dubbed Charon, after the mythological demon who ferried souls to the underworld in Greek mythology.

Because Charon and Pluto are so similar in size, their orbit is unlike that of most planets and their moons. Both Pluto and Charon orbit a point in space that lies between them, similar to the orbits of binary star systems, For this reason, scientists refer to Pluto and Charon as a double dwarf planet, double planet or binary system.

Pluto and Charon are just 12,200 miles (19,640 km) apart, less than the distance by flight between London and Sydney. Charon's orbit around Pluto takes 6.4 Earth-days, and one Pluto rotation — a Pluto-day — also takes 6.4 Earth-days. This is because Charon hovers over the same spot on Pluto's surface, and the same side of Charon always faces Pluto, a phenomenon known as tidal locking.

While Pluto has a reddish tint, Charon appears more grayish. In its early days, the moon may have contained a subsurface ocean, though the satellite probably can't support one today.

Compared with most of the solar system's planets and moons, the Pluto-Charon system is tipped on its side in relation to the sun.

Observations of Charon by New Horizons have revealed the presence of canyons on the moon's surface. The deepest of those canyons plunges downward for 6 miles (9.7 km). A long swatch of cliffs and troughs stretches for 600 miles (970 km) across the middle of the satellite. A section of the moon's surface near one pole is covered in a much darker material than the rest of the planet. Similar to regions of Pluto, much of Charon's surface is free of craters — suggesting the surface is quite young and geologically active. Scientists saw evidence of landslides on its surface, the first time such features have been spotted in the Kuiper Belt. The moon may have also possessed its own version of plate tectonics, which cause geologic change on Earth.

In 2005, scientists photographed Pluto with the Hubble Space Telescope in preparation for the New Horizons mission and discovered two other tiny moons of Pluto, now dubbed Nix and Hydra. These satellites are two and three times farther away from Pluto than is Charon. Based on measurements by New Horizons, Nix is estimated to be 26 miles (42 km) long and 22 miles (36 km) wide, while Hydra is estimated at 34 miles (55 km) long and 25 miles (40 km) wide. It is likely that Hydra's surface is coated primarily in water ice.

Scientists using Hubble discovered a fourth moon, Kerberos, in 2011. This moon is estimated to be 8 to 21 miles (13 to 34 km) in diameter. On July 11, 2012, a fifth moon, Styx, was discovered (with an estimated width of 6 miles or 10 km), further fueling the debate about Pluto's status as a planet.

The four newly spotted moons may have formed from the collision that created Charon. Their orbits have been found to be highly chaotic.

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Astronomers Describe the Chaotic Dance of Pluto’s Moons

By Kenneth Chang

  • June 3, 2015

The five moons of Pluto form a sort of miniature planetary system — one that is unique in the solar system.

The largest, Charon, 750 miles wide, was discovered in 1978, and it is so large, about one-ninth the mass of Pluto, that the center of mass of the two lies outside Pluto. That has led some planetary scientists to regard Pluto and Charon as a double planet.

By contrast, Earth is 81 times the mass of the moon, and the center of mass is within Earth.

Two much smaller moons of Pluto, now named Nix and Hydra, were discovered in 2005 in images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. In 2011, another moon, Kerberos, was discovered between the orbits of Nix and Hydra, and a year later, astronomers announced the fifth moon, Styx.

In an article published Wednesday in the journal Nature, Mark R. Showalter of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., and Douglas P. Hamilton of the University of Maryland calculated more precisely the orbits of the four smaller moons and turned up some surprises.
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For one, Nix, jostled by the competing gravitational pulls of Pluto and Charon, appears to be rotating chaotically.

“It’s not just a little bit chaotic,” Dr. Showalter said. “Nix can flip its entire pole. It could actually be possible to spend a day on Nix in which the sun rises in the east and sets in the north. It is almost random-looking in the way it rotates.”

Dr. Showalter said that Styx and Kerberos were probably also rotating chaotically. “It’s just that we haven’t been able to measure them well enough to see it yet,” he said.

Hydra, the farthest from Pluto, is also tumbling.

“It just shows the universe is a really complex and wonderful place,” said Scott J. Kenyon, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., who wrote an accompanying commentary in Nature.

The findings in Nature are based on Hubble images taken from 2005 to 2012 and include detections of Kerberos and Styx in older photographs where astronomers had previously missed seeing them.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, speeding toward a close encounter with Pluto on July 14, may help answer many questions.

The orbits of the five moons are close, but not exactly in resonance, in which gravity would keep the moons moving in lockstep. Styx’s orbital period is close to three times that of Charon, Nix’s is close to four times, Kerberos’s is close to five and Hydra’s is close to six.

“That is not exact, which means it is actually not a resonance at all,” Dr. Showalter said. “Resonance is not like a game of horseshoes, where close counts. You’re either in a resonance or you’re not.”

But the orbits are so close that they strongly suggest that the moons were once in resonance. “This is not random chance,” Dr. Showalter said. “There is definitely something about the nature of these near relationships that is a clue about how this system formed and evolved.”

Dr. Showalter and Dr. Hamilton discovered a different resonance, in which Styx’s motion is locked to those of Nix and Hydra. The two resonances cannot occur simultaneously, so somehow the original resonance of the five moons fell apart and then three of the moons synchronized in the second one.

Refined estimates of the properties of the moons also indicate that Kerberos has one-third the mass of Hydra and yet reflects only one-twentieth as much sunlight. That would mean it is made of something much darker, as dark as charcoal, than Nix and Hydra, which have the brightness of dirty snow or desert sand. “We are totally mystified by the color of Kerberos,” Dr. Showalter said.

The astronomers estimated that Hydra is a potato-shaped object about 36 miles wide, and Nix is 35 miles wide and a bit skinnier. Kerberos is about 19 miles wide, they said. In the Hubble images, Styx was too small and dim for astronomers to estimate its size and reflectivity.

Pluto and its moons are believed to have formed out of a collision of icy bodies in the outer solar system. One idea is that the brighter moons coalesced out of the debris, while the darker Kerberos might be a fragment of the object that slammed into Pluto.