#Pluto – Ringleader of the #KuiperBelt

Pluto's heart shaped feature - NASA

Pluto’s heart shaped feature – NASA

Pluto and Charon – a double system that steals that uniqueness from Earth/Moon. Pluto – orbiting in an ecliptic plane all its own, weird compared to the Sun’s planets. Pluto – largest of the Kuiper Belt objects (that status retrieved from Eris thanks to New Horizons). Pluto – in its own vast ring of millions of objects, the largest known object in the solar system beyond Neptune. Pluto – whose minions have infiltrated closer to the Sun as Neptune’s moon Triton and Saturn‘s Phoebe.

Pluto – no dull, frozen lump. “NASA scientists giddily throwing around words like ‘amazing’ and ‘mind-blowing.’ The pictures appear to upend some of our previous ideas about the presumed dead, dwarf planet. Most notably, it might not be dead.” [cbc.ca]

It’s “geology is ‘astoundingly amazing,’ declaimed Jeffrey Moore, New Horizons co-investigator. He focused on the ‘vast crater-less planes’ he’s also calling ‘not-easy-to-explain terrain’ and ‘icy frozen plains’.” blog.seattlepi.com

Pluto sports “one of the youngest surfaces we’ve ever seen in the solar system.” Some ice peaks are as tall as mountains in the Rockies, and still rising from geological activity not understood. All this, and scientists have only received about 2% of the data New Horizons has collected.

Pluto – who needs to be called a “planet” by bureaucrats on some distant, inner sphere?

BTW 1 – I was also thrilled to discover, once again, that what I know ain’t so. I’ve had in my head that the Sun would appear as merely another bright star from Pluto. No so! “The Sun from Pluto is still pretty dang intense. It would hardly look like just any other star: it would greatly outshine everything else in the sky. Painful to look at, most likely.” badastronomy

BTW 2 – I don’t get personally agitated over calling Pluto a dwarf-planet. Human beings love words to the point of arguing over the abstraction rather than seeing the reality. Are viruses alive? Can an Australopithecus anamensis mother birth an Australopithecus afarensis baby? Is Pluto a planet or a dwarf-planet? These are questions about labels, not about reality.

I’ve quoted a few articles above, but search on “Pluto New Horizons” and you’ll find tons.


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