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Dwarf Planets And TNOs. The Problem of Pluto Pluto was discovered in 1930. Named after the god of the dead. Its position was predicted by perturbations.

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Presentation on theme: "Dwarf Planets And TNOs. The Problem of Pluto Pluto was discovered in 1930. Named after the god of the dead. Its position was predicted by perturbations."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dwarf Planets And TNOs

2 The Problem of Pluto Pluto was discovered in Named after the god of the dead. Its position was predicted by perturbations in Neptune’s orbit From the beginning it was unlike any other planet. Its orbit is on a far different plane than the other planets, at a 17° angle from them and… is so elliptical (30 – 49 AU) that it crosses Neptune’s orbit.

3 Its size is very small, less than half Mercury’s radius and its mass is even less at only.002 of Earth Its Composition was at first thought to be a terrestrial planet, though isolated beyond the Gas Giants, later its composition was discovered to be icy, more like a comet than Earth. Its moon, Charon is unusually large, at half Pluto’s radius and orbits very close at 19,600 km. All this made Pluto very unique until…

4 Eris, and a new type of planet In 2005 another ‘planet’, called Eris after the Greek goddess of discord, was discovered It was very much like Pluto, a little larger with similar composition, a tilted (44°) and elliptical (39 – 97 AU) orbit, and a large moon. Recently more, (6+) other similar objects have been found. In August 2006 they and Pluto were called a new category of celestial objects, “Dwarf Planets” A Dwarf Planet: Orbits the Sun Has enough mass so that gravity makes them roughly spherical But have not cleared their orbit of other objects

5 Ceres One Dwarf planet does have a composition similar to Earth…Ceres It was once considered an asteroid it orbits in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter at 2.77 AU It is between 909 & 975km in diameter.

6 Trans-Neptune Objects (TNO’s) and other dwarf planets Pluto, Eris, Sedna and Orcus are all icy dwarf planets that cross Neptune’s orbit or come close to it At their greatest distance they pass into the Kuiper belt where comets orbit, They are known as ”TNO’s” About 10 such objects are known. There are probably many more dwarf planets orbiting far beyond Neptune.

7 Plutoids Plutoids are icy dwarf planets similar to Pluto. They orbit in the Kuiper Belt and in composition resemble comets. (Although exactly what gas the ice is varies) They Include: Pluto Eris Makemake and Haumea Some such as Sedna, Quaoar, Orcus and Varuna await a further observation before determination

8 Pluto’s Transient Atmosphere Nitrogen is especially common on Pluto It has an atmosphere of mostly nitrogen that only exists when its closer to the Sun. It freezes when Pluto reaches aphelion and vaporizes again as it approaches perihelion

9 Pluto and Charon are a “binary planet” because: 1.Charon has a radius (635km) more than half that of Pluto. 2.They orbit each other and are tidally locked so that both always face the same side to each other Two true moons Nix and Hydra orbit the pair.

10 Eris Eris, with a radius of 1200 km, is the largest of the Plutoids. It takes over 500 years to complete its 68 AU average orbit. It has one small Moon: Dysonomia

11 Makemake And Haumea At a radius of 950 km Makemake is the third largest plutoid. Debate raged over the status of Haumea Its elongated shape is the result of it fast spin. At a period of 4 hours, the fastest known So now it qualifies It has two small moons, Hi’iaka and Namaka

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