Pluto Definition

Learn about Pluto, the controversial dwarf planet in our solar system. Discover its characteristics, importance, and the debate surrounding its classification.

What is Pluto?

Pluto is a dwarf planet located in the outer regions of our solar system. Discovered in 1930 by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, Pluto has had a controversial history in astronomy. Originally classified as the ninth planet in our solar system, it was reclassified as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union in 2006.

Characteristics of Pluto

  • Pluto has a highly elliptical orbit, taking it closer to the sun than Neptune during parts of its orbit.
  • It has a thin atmosphere primarily composed of nitrogen, methane, and carbon monoxide.
  • Pluto has five known moons, the largest of which is Charon.

Controversy and Debate

The demotion of Pluto from planet status sparked debates among astronomers and the public. Some argue that Pluto should be reinstated as a planet due to its size and characteristics, while others support the IAU’s decision based on new definitions of what constitutes a planet.

Importance of Pluto

Studying Pluto and other dwarf planets can provide valuable insights into the formation and evolution of our solar system. By studying these distant objects, scientists can learn more about the conditions that existed during the early years of our solar system.

Case Study: New Horizons Mission

In 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made a historic flyby of Pluto, providing detailed images and data about the dwarf planet. The mission revealed previously unknown details about Pluto’s surface and atmosphere, furthering our understanding of this distant world.


While Pluto may no longer be classified as a planet, it remains an important and fascinating object of study in our solar system. By continuing to explore and learn more about Pluto, scientists can gain valuable insights into the origins of our solar system and the diversity of worlds that exist beyond Earth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *