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Posted

Air Apparent: Pluto's Eternal Atmosphere

 

air-apparent-plutos-eternal-atmosphere_1

A World With Atmosphere: Pluto is never airless. Image: NASA, ESA, and M. Buie (Southern Research Institute)

 

Although billions of kilometers from the sun, frigid Pluto has an Earthly air: an atmosphere made mostly of nitrogen, the same gas that constitutes 78 percent of the air we breathe. But Pluto pursues such an elliptical orbit around the sun that all of that gas might freeze onto its surface when farthest and coldest. On May 4, however, Pluto passed in front of a star in the constellation Sagittarius, allowing observers to watch the atmosphere block some of the star's light and deduce that the air is so substantial it never disappears.

That passage was key to understanding the atmosphere's future, says Catherine Olkin, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., whose team tracked the so-called occultation. In work submitted to Icarus she and her colleagues report that Pluto's atmosphere is now thicker than ever before seen.

Astronomers discovered the atmosphere in 1988, when Pluto occulted another star. An airless Pluto would have cut off the star's light abruptly, but instead the starlight faded gradually, revealing air with roughly one one-hundred-thousandth the surface pressure of our own

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Posted

I wonder if we can mine it for the gas and bring it to mars. So mars has a larger atmosphere.

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Posted

I wonder if we can mine it for the gas and bring it to mars. So mars has a larger atmosphere.

 

Or mine it and bring it back to earth.

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Posted

We on Pluto!!!

 

But Harry how can you tell??

 

FROM THE BARK YOU DUMMIES!!!

 

 

I wonder now that Pluto is discovered to have an atmosphere if it will be classified as a planet again? LOL

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Posted

Hello Everyone

 

 

There's no need to wait to see Pluto.It has been imaged  since 2008.Pluto's full rotaion,attached, has been reported to the IAU.

It hasn't appeared all over the news because they are waiting for verification.

[attachment=348423:Captura de tela 2013-09-17 ]

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Posted

Things will be much clearer when New Horizons does its flyby in 2015.

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