A Map Of The Solar System Including Pluto
WHY GO TO PLUTO?
Planetary exploration is a historic endeavor and a major focus of NASA. New Horizons is designed to help us understand worlds at the edge of our solar system by making the first reconnaissance of Pluto and Charon - a "double planet" and the last of the traditional planets to be visited by spacecraft.
Then, as part of an extended mission, New Horizons could visit one or more objects in the Kuiper Belt region hubblesite.org
CHARACTERISTICS OF PLUTO AND CHARON
There is no doubt that Pluto is SMALLcompared with the other planets. At the same time, compared withits parent planet, Charon is the largest moon in the solar system. Here is a comparison of the sizes of best telescopes, how weable to measure the sizes of Pluto and Charon? The opportunity was provided by a fortunate quirk of Pluto and around Pluto are, like Uranus, aligned almost with the plane of its orbit: through 1990,Pluto and Charon would eclipse each otheron a daily basis - a Pluto day, that is. Theseeclipses colorado.edu
are albedo maps of Pluto based on these mutual eclipsesof Pluto and Charon Below are maps based on Hubble Space Telescope data. by processing many Hubble Space Telescope observations of the planet dark and light regions could be due to different types of ices on the surface, or could be topological features. reconstructed by imaging the planet at different times during its day.
maps derived from Hubble data. Did the mutual eclipseresearchers get The mutual eclipses of Pluto and Charon provide their thesepieces of information models colorado.edu
rock and only 30% ice By comparing the density of Pluto with the densitiesof Charon and of the moons of Uranus and Neptune, would you judge Pluto to have more or less ice that is typical for small bodies inthe outer solar system? table of properties of terrestrial and giant planets, Table 8.2 of the orbit, moon, density, etc;
SCIENCE AT THE FRONTIER
Our solar system contains three zones: the inner, rocky planets; the gas giant planets; and the Kuiper Belt. Pluto is one of the largest bodies of the icy, "third zone" of our solar system. In the early 2000s, the National Academy of Sciences placed the exploration of the third zone in general - and Pluto-Charon in particular - among its highest priority planetary mission rankings for the coming decade. New In those zones, our solar system has three classes of planets: worlds the Kuiper Belt.
There are far more ice dwarf planets than rocky and gas giant worlds combined - yet, no spacecraft has been sent to a planet in this class. The National Academy noted that our knowledge of planetary types is therefore seriously incomplete. As the first mission to investigate this new class of planetary bodies, New Horizons will fill this important gap and round out our knowledge of the planets in our solar system.
THE NEED TO EXPLORE
As the first voyage to a whole new class of planets in the farthest zone of the solar system, New Horizons is a historic mission of exploration. The United States has made history by being the first nation to reach every planet from Mercury to Neptune with a space probe.
The New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt - the first NASA launch to a "new" planet since Voyager more than 30 years ago - allows the U.S. to complete the reconnaissance of the traditional solar system. -------------------------
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT NEW MYSTERIOUS DARK WORLD IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM
University of California, Santa Cruz told National Geographic. If the planet exists, it is thought to be about ten times as massive or three times as large as Earth.
That sort of sized planet occurs from our own. "This would be a real ninth planet," says Brown, the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy. "There have only been two true planets discovered since ancient times, and this would It would be around 200 to 300 times as far away from the sun as we spend some of its time as much as four times as far away as that, and an entire orbit of the sun probably takes about 20,000 years. * 30 show all
THE SOLAR SYSTEM HAS OVER WORLDS
It is true that there are only eight planets. However, the Solar System is made up of over 100 worlds that are every bit as fascinating.
Some of these minor planets, and moons are actually larger than the planet Mercury! Others, such as Io, have active volcanoes. Europa has a liquid water ocean, while Titan has lakes, rivers, and oceans of liquid Methane. You can read more about these amazing worlds by clicking here.
HOW DID THE SOLAR SYSTEM FORM?
This is an important question, and one that is difficult for scientists to understand. After all, the creation of our Solar System took place billions of years before there were any people around to witness it.
Our own evolution is tied closely to the evolution of the Solar System. Thus, without understanding from where the Solar System came from, it is difficult to comprehend how mankind came to be. Scientists believe that the Solar System evolved from a giant cloud of dust and gas.
They believe that this dust and gas began to collapse under the weight of its own gravity. As it did so, the matter contained within this could begin moving in a giant circle, much like the water in a drain moves around the center of the drain in a circle.
At the center of this spinning cloud, a small star began to form. This star grew larger and larger as it collected more and more of the dust and gas that collapsed into it. Further away from the center of this mass where the star was forming, there were smaller clumps of dust and gas that were also collapsing. The star in the center eventually ignited forming our Sun, while the smaller clumps became the planets, minor planets, moons, comets, and asteroids.
The ice dwarfs are planetary embryos, whose growth stopped at sizes full-grown planets in the inner solar system and the gas giants region.
The ice dwarfs are ancient relics that formed over 4 billion years ago. Because they are literally the bodies out of which the larger outer planets accumulated, the ice dwarfs have a great deal to teach us about planetary formation. New Horizons seeks those answers.
THE THIRD REGION
Generally, New Horizons seeks to understand where Pluto and its moons "fit in" with the other objects in the solar system. We currently classify the planets into groups.
Earth, Mars, Venus and Mercury are the "terrestrial" planets, which are mostly rock and metal objects. In contrast, the "gas giant" planets, which include Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, are dominated by thick, molecular hydrogen atmospheres, and Uranus and Neptune also contain abundant "ices" Pluto belongs to a third category that could be called "ice dwarfs." They have solid surfaces but, unlike the terrestrial planets, a water, carbon dioxide, molecular nitrogen, methane and carbon
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