Russia: Pluto — 75-year-old mystery




The discovery of Pluto, the ninth planet from the Sun, occurred, in general, more recently — just 75 years ago. February 18, 1930 an amateur astronomer Clyde Tombaugh (Clyde Tombaugh), who was then 26 years old, comparing photos of the sky taken with a telescope observatory Lowell, discovered an object that moves in the direction opposite to the direction of motion of the stars. This was Pluto, whose existence was predicted in 1905 by the astronomer Percival Lowell (Percival Lowell). Lowell conjectured about the possible existence in the outer solar system, some kind of Planet X, but her "real" discovery, he did not live. But Pluto was discovered with a telescope observatory, named Lowell.

However, despite the availability of powerful telescopes and other achievements of astronomy, Pluto remains largely a mystery. Astronomers still do not know what is in this distant planet as it formed and why Pluto's orbit is unlike the other eight planets. Pluto's orbit has a pronounced elliptical shape, and its plane is inclined at an angle of 17,1 o relative to the main plane of the solar system where the planets are moving. It should also be noted that at perihelion, Pluto is closer to the Sun than Neptune. Complete revolution around the Sun Pluto makes nearly 248 years. While Pluto discovered one satellite — Charon, but astronomers believe that perhaps Pluto has other satellites, but they have not been found. It is also possible that beyond the orbit of Pluto is the 10th planet of the solar system, which can be larger than Pluto.

By the way, not all astronomers think this planet Pluto, so from time to time there are discussions that Pluto should be demoted to asteroids. The arguments for this decision are the following: highly inclined orbit, its elliptical shape, the small size of Pluto (it is smaller than our Moon), and its size is too large moon Charon relative to the size of Pluto itself.

Pluto have to solve the riddle of the mission "New Horizons" (New Horizons), in which in 2006 will go to Pluto research probe. However, for the purpose of his trip, he will arrive only in 2015 Meanwhile, Pluto was investigated using ground-based telescopes. For example, we already know that, despite the very weak and thin atmosphere on Pluto are the winds and the changing seasons.

Battery News, 18.02.2005 13:07
Source: ROL

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