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Does Pluto Have Any Rings?

does-pluto-have-rings

ANSWER:

There are no known rings around the dwarf plant Pluto.

Hubble Discovery of Pluto Moon

Recently the Hubble Space telescope was tasked with searching for rings around Pluto and it did not discover any. However, the search did result in some interesting finds including the fourth moon of Pluto: P4.

Nature of Planetary Rings

Planetary rings are generally formed when smaller bodies impact large bodies are a destroyed sending up showers of rocky debris out of the atmosphere and in orbit around the planet.

Implications of Pluto’s Moons

The recent discovery of small moons around Pluto, which may be from impact debris has led to further investigation as to whether or not there are rings around Pluto. However, at this point no rings have been discovered.

The New Horizons Probe to Pluto

The New Horizons probe was launched to fly by Pluto in 2015. While searching for potential hazards for the probe, NASA discovered yet another moon of Pluto. There are now five known objects in and around Pluto with New Horizons screaming out toward Pluto promising to find more.

The Distance to Pluto Makes Research Difficult.

The number of moons and objects around Pluto indicate that faint rings may exist around the planet but, because of the vast distance of Pluto from the earth they are impossible to detect from earth and spaced based telescope and await discovery upon the arrival of New Horizons.

 

Resources

“Pluto Fact Sheet.” Welcome to the NSSDC!. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2012. http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/plutofact.html

“Sharpest-Ever Views of Pluto and Charon.” Astrobiology Magazine — The Origin and Evolution of Life in the Universe . N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2012.  http://www.astrobio.net/pressrelease/5055/sharpest-ever-views-of-pluto-and-charon

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