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The smallest planet with a solid surface in our solar system is Pluto. The planet was discovered in 1930 and named after the Greek god of the underworld. Located past large gaseous planets it is smaller than our moon with a diameter of approximately 1860 miles. Pluto orbits the sun every 248 years. It was learned that the orbit of the planet is irregular and much more tilted than the other planets. When questions arose concerning why Uranus orbit was not a perfect ellipse, it was predicted by astronomers that gravity from another planet in the position where Pluto was found might explain the problem. Following this lead a careful search turned up Pluto.
Plutos average distance from the sun is 3,658 million miles. According to astronomers, the planet will at times come closer to the sun than Neptune. It is believed to be made up of frozen gas and dust. A closer study of the planet has shown that Pluto does not have the mass or gravitational ability needed to interfere with Uranus's orbit. According to scientist, it is possible that Pluto is an escaped satellite of Neptune. A study of Pluto in 1983 done by an international spacecraft called IRAS led scientist to conclude that the planets surface is not uniform. It is believed Pluto has a dark band around its equator and caps of frozen methane near its poles.
Pluto has one moon which is called Charon that is about half the diameter of the planet. Charon was discovered when scientist noticed in pictures taken of Pluto that its obit looked strange. The planet appeared to be not quite round. It was then realized that what the scientist was seeing was a glimpse of a moon traveling around Pluto. The moon was named after the scientist wife and the mythological oarsman who rowed people across the river in the underworld. To date scientist have been unable to accurately measure the distance between Pluto and Charon. It is estimated that Charon is about 745 miles in diameter, which makes it the largest moon in the solar system.