Astronomers have to wait for a while to celebrate the first complete orbit since the discovery of Pluto.
Pluto was discovered on February 18, 1930, using the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh has discovered an object that clearly moves beyond its orbit. Neptune.. The object was later called Pluto, the ruler of the Greek underworld in the myths of that culture.
There is a long-term debate about Whether Pluto is a planet or a dwarf planet.. But with respect to that orbit, astronomers do not agree that the world has not yet completed a single orbit since Tombaugh first discovered Pluto in the image.
Pluto 248.09 Earth Year takes to complete one orbit around the Sun.That information timeanddate.com (Opens in a new tab) The calculator and its discovery date, and you will find Pluto completing the first complete orbit since its discovery on Monday, March 23, 2178.
But, as astronomers told Live Science, there is much more intriguing world orbit than the time that has passed since its discovery.
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Ellis in the world exceeds that at 44 degrees, said Will Grandy of Lowell Observatory, a NASA collaborator. New horizon (Opens in a new tab) With the mission that encountered the Pluto system in 2015 Arrocos (Opens in a new tab) In January 2019. Craft is currently moving to the Kuiper belt.
“As a result of the dynamic interactions between planets early in the history of the solar system, smaller planets tend to have higher tilts: Mercury7 degrees, Ellis 7 degrees, Makemake 29 degrees, Haumea [28.2] Degree. “
The same applies to the eccentricity of a small world. This shows how far the orbit is from the true circle. The orbit of the earth is almost circular, but the orbit of Pluto extends with an eccentricity of 0.25. By comparison, Mercury is 0.205, Ellis is 0.44, Makemake is 0.16, and Haumea is 0.20.
The deviations that exist between these various worlds are “a valuable clue to the dramatic events that took place early in the history of the solar system, the complex history of planetary movements and close encounters, and perhaps some. Demands that the planet be completely expelled from the solar system to become a rogue planet. ”
He said that such perturbations are still dynamic enough that navigating spacecraft in these orbits requires complex calculations.
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Alan Stern of the Southwest Institute, a senior researcher at New Horizons, said there are four things to consider about Pluto’s orbit. The first two are its slope and eccentricity.
The third is the resonance between Pluto and Neptune. This giant gas giant is trapped in a gravitational dance with Pluto, keeping both worlds in a consistent orbital pattern with each other (even in places like Saturn where there are many satellites in resonant orbit).
The fourth is what happens because of that resonance. Pluto is closer to the Sun than Neptune for about 20 years in all orbits. “It’s like a clockwork,” Stern said, explaining that when this happened, Neptune was always on the other side of the sun. “They can never collide because they are in this resonant state.”
Grundy has added a fifth element to the list of important features of Pluto’s orbit. Pluto and its largest moon, Karon, are relatively close in size. Karon is about half the mass of Pluto. Instead of thinking of Pluto as its own world, he said, “Think of its common center of gravity,” which Pluto and Charon share as they orbit the Sun.
Simply put, Grundy said, “Pluto and Charon are actually double planets.” This should be taken into account when mapping the trajectory of the system.
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Pluto is a resident of the area that astronomers call the Kuiper belt, and is filled with the ice world collectively known as the Kuiper Belt Object (KBO). Stern said that the best way to think about KBO is in a world that occupies the “same zip code” outside the solar system, as these objects are very different from each other and there are at least four known types.
As Pluto orbits, it may move closer to or further from the Sun, reacting to strong or weak sunlight. For example, according to Stern, the stronger the heating, the heavier the pluto. “The increase in sunlight is an increase in energy, which sublimates more ice into gas, creating a thicker, heavier atmosphere,” he explained.
On the surface, changes also occur. “Ice is moving from place to place like the earth,” Stern said. “With season [on Earth], It snows in winter. Taking a picture of the Earth from another planet will show brighter zones in certain hemispheres than in summer.Then in the summer, you [see] The ice recedes. The same is true for Pluto, Mars, and other celestial bodies. “
New Horizons is powerful enough to run for the next 20 years and focuses on solar physics (research). Sun) And astrophysics continues its mission, Stern said. Of course, the data from the 2015 Pluto encounter will continue to be available and analyzed for future scientific research.
As for Lowell, the Observatory continues to celebrate its role in Pluto’s research with an exhibition of artifacts, the program used in the discovery and tour of the telescope. The observatory also holds an annual “I Heart Pluto Festival” to celebrate its historic connection to the distant world.
Originally published on Live Science.
When will Pluto complete its first orbit since its discovery?
Source link When will Pluto complete its first orbit since its discovery?