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Imagine to be Pluto's surface, climate and atmosphere?

  1. Jul 15, 2006 #1
    Hi there. I have two questions to make. First how do you imagine to be Pluto's surface, climate and atmosphere? And second how much time does the sun light to reach Pluto? Please answer, i really want to know about these two things. Thank you.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 16, 2006 #2
    I imagine it cold, and light does not reach pluto in a constant time in order that its orbit is elliptical; but i don't see your problem...
  4. Jul 16, 2006 #3


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    Pluto is an average of 3.6 billion miles from the sun, which means it takes light about 5:20 to get there.

    It is so small that it likely doesn't have much of an atmosphere. And it is extremely cold.
  5. Jul 16, 2006 #4


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    What does light-time have to do with eccentricity of an orbit?
  6. Jul 17, 2006 #5
    The time light takes to reach Pluto varies because the distance to Pluto varies. The distance varies because of eccentric orbit.
  7. Jul 17, 2006 #6


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    That much I knew..:biggrin:

    That would apply to all planets and anything else in an elliptical orbit, like all orbits are. I thought that the OP (the original post was edited as shown by my first answer to quote above) was asking or implying that the light-time had an effect or "cause" in Pluto's large eccentricity.

    Should have known..:frown:
  8. Jul 20, 2006 #7
    There is not really a problem. I mean i don't want to visit Pluto. I just want to make a picture of what possible experiences would a possible future human mission on that planet. What could be life iside a base and what would be the feeling out of it. What will the astrounauts will see and feel everyday on that planet?
  9. Jul 23, 2006 #8


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    The atmosphere on Pluto is actually quite an interesting topic. The theory goes that Pluto has an atmosphere that is mostly nytrogen (like Earth's), but this atmosphere only exists when Pluto is inside or close to being inside Neptune's orbit. The rest of the time, the planet is so far from the Sun that the atmosphere freezes solid and becomes the surface of the planet; a surface of Nytrogen ice.

    Since I don't think it has enough gravity to hold on to a nytrogen atmosphere, this makes me wonder if Pluto is getting smaller with each orbit, like a comet burning of its volitals every time it passes through the inner Solar System.

    Also, I think IL makes a point worth noticing. Pluto's orbit is far nore eliptical than any (other) planet's. I ran some quick numbers, and it looks to me as if Sunlight can reach the surface in just over four (4.1) hours at aphelion, and just under seven hours (6.8) at perihelion. Quite a discrepency.
  10. Jul 27, 2006 #9


    I recall some Pluto related knowledge i would like to share, which i found from a Lowell observatory astronomer's website on the imaging of the planet (Marc Buie http://www.lowell.edu/users/buie/pluto/pluto.html" [Broken].
    Regarding how I would imagine being on Pluto is not easy to describe, as a specific experience i think it should be similar to my initial visits to the Grand Canyon, but here is an artist's representation upon a similar object: Sedna, a Kuiper belt object--http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/0406/sednaIll_schaller_full.jpg" [Broken].
    Realistically, I think steps should be considered if you wish to figure out how space exploration comes about to orient yourself in the field; mainly what "approximation" is there here on Earth that can prepare humans on interplanetary travels? I think anecdotes of scientists from expeditions to Antartica is a good start--(astro)geologists go there to search for meteorites.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  11. Jul 27, 2006 #10


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    Pluto's atmosphere - when it's warm enough to be gaseous instead of frozen - has such a low gradient (drop in pressure with altitiude) that it shares it with its moon Charon.

    Pluto's surface would be solid, rocky, icy. Not white ice though, dark ice. And the ice is so cold that it's hard like iron. It would ring when you struck it. Depending on the "season" which each last 60+ Earth years, there could be frost or mist, as the atmo freezes out or sublimates.
  12. Jul 27, 2006 #11


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    Pluto and Charon share an atmosphere??:eek: If true, that's very interesting. Wouldn't that create friction that would cause them to spiral towards each other?
  13. Jul 27, 2006 #12


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    Mercury comes close (.206 vs .249). And Xena (.442) (depending on whether or not you consider it a planet) has a higher eccentricity than Pluto.
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