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B Presence of gases on Pluto

  1. Jun 6, 2017 #1
    The New Horizon reached Pluto in April of previous year.
    It shown that Pluto's surface contains mixtures of various gases , such as CH4 and gaseous H2SO4.
    Now , the query of mine is that-
    Pluto is situated very far from Sun and is very cold.
    Please someone justify me how can this gases be present on the Planet.
    I am ready to read any explanations theory.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 6, 2017 #2
    The atmosphere is primarily Nitrogen, but there is a small component of complex molecules.
    As you say Pluto is far from the Sun, but it's orbit is highly eccentric, sometimes it's closer to the Sun then Neptune.
    It may be that these molecules are frozen on the surface when Pluto is most distant,
    but they sublimate to become part of the atmosphere when it's closer
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017
  4. Jun 6, 2017 #3

    stefan r

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    Gold Member

    Gasses/liquids do not have a boiling "point". The have a boiling point at a specific temperature or a specific pressure. Below the triple point solids can still sublime into gas.
  5. Jun 6, 2017 #4
    Thanks to both of you.
    I got a basic idea of this presence of gases.
    It is due to sublimation.
    Please don't mind , I have a query-
    Are the gases volatile ?
  6. Jun 6, 2017 #5


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    Can you clarify what you mean when you ask whether a gas is volatile? Normally, one would say that a liquid (or solid) is volatile or not based on how readily it will evaporate (or sublimate).
  7. Jun 6, 2017 #6
    Sorry jbriggs444, I asked a wrong query I initially.
    I meant to say that what is atmospheric pressure on the Pluto.
    I think this is a strange question.
    But I need to know this to conclude that the presence of gases on Pluto is due to sublimation.
    (According to Stefan r stating that-
  8. Jun 7, 2017 #7
    Apparently the New Horizons spacecraft was equipped to obtain a fairly accurate measurement for that
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