Astronomy Blurbs: Ten Things to Know About a Tiny Purple Planet

(pictured above: The Kuiper Belt, the circumstellar disc that Pluto inhabits with its moons.)

One of the most well-known dwarf planets, here are ten facts about our beloved Pluto (without being too boring.)

1.Pluto was discovered in 1930 by American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh.2. Venetia Burney, an 11-year-old from England, gave Pluto its name that same year. Girl power!
3. One day on Pluto is equivalent to 6 ½ days on Earth.
4. In degrees Fahrenheit, Pluto is 375-400 degrees below zero. (Better bring a coat.)
5. If you want to know how small Pluto really is, it’s only about half the width of the United States. It could even fit between Washington DC and Denver, Colorado.
6. A spacecraft named New Horizons, only about the size of a piano, traveled to Pluto in January 2006. It finally reached the little planet in the summer of 2015, almost a decade later.
7. Pluto is 2/3 rock and 1/3 ice.
8. Pluto and its moons are all named after mythological figures associated with the underworld. (Styx, Nix, Kerberos, Hydra…how mysterious.)
9. The astronomical symbol for Pluto (PL or ♇) was named after Percival Lowell who started the search for the planet in the 1900s.
10. Although Pluto obviously can’t support life (375 degrees below zero! So, you know, all gases in the atmosphere freeze solid.), some scientists do believe that there could be a hidden ocean underneath its surface.

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