If you could land on Pluto, what kind of world would you see? How big is the sun there?

By yqqlm yqqlm

On February 18, 1930, the American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered the Pluto has caused a sensation in the world. At the time, people recognized it as the solar system the ninth planet.

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According to astronomers’ measurements, it’s very far away. The revolution period around the sun is as long as 248 years. In other words, 90 years have passed, and Pluto hasn’t even finished half a circle. I am afraid that at the end of our life, we will not see it revolving for the”first anniversary”.

What is such a distant celestial body like? If you could land on Pluto, what kind of world would you see?

How difficult is it to land on Pluto

I have to say, landing on Pluto, at least for now Unlikely.

On January 19, 2006, the New Horizons probe was launched at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. After nine and a half years of space travel, it arrived at Pluto, and launched the first close-range exploration of Pluto in human history. Then it left with its mission, leaving Pluto behind. At the nearest time, it was only about 12,550 kilometers from the surface of Pluto, which is approximately equal to the diameter of the Earth.

It is not that humans do not want it to land on Pluto for more in-depth exploration, but the actual situation does not allow it. What is the difficulty of landing on Pluto?

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First of all, the distance is too far, and the task cycle is very long. This is still second, mainly because energy can’t keep up. There is almost no atmosphere on the surface of Pluto, so the lander wants to make a soft landing without the friction of the atmosphere. Use more fuel for autonomous deceleration. At the same time, the sunlight that Pluto’s surface can receive is very limited, and it is not realistic to use solar energy, so it has to be a relatively traditional fuel.

So even if we don’t care about the life and death of this astronaut, we don’t have Sufficient ability. Someone has calculated that if you want to send people to Pluto, plus the gravity of the fuel just mentioned, this requires extremely high rocket launch capabilities, at least two Falcon 9sHeavy rocket only works.

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Moreover, even if we have such launch capabilities, we still You have to consider the safety of the astronauts-can’t you really let them go to death, right? The severe low temperature on the surface of Pluto has turned it into a hellish world. Therefore, we must have more advanced spacesuits to ensure that astronauts land on Pluto.

Well, you didn’t click in to watch me splash cold water. Let’s assume that we have passed through, and human technology has reached that level. So, when you set foot on Pluto, what kind of world will you see?


Look at the sun on Pluto, and There are two different scenes on the earth. In fact, the sun is simply not enough to illuminate Pluto. Of course, this is not only caused by the distance being too far, but also because Pluto has almost no atmosphere. Without the scattering of the atmosphere, only the surrounding area of ​​the sun is bright, and the rest still is pitch black Night sky.

So, how big is the sun seen on Pluto?

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Pluto is also 4.436 billion kilometers from the sun, which is approximately equal to the sun 30 times the ground distance. Therefore, looking at the sun from Pluto, the diameter is approximately only 1/30 of the earth. We usually describe the visual effect of a celestial body in terms of its apparent diameter. For example, looking at the sun on the earth, it is about 0.5°. What is this concept? You make a fist with one hand and stretch it to the farthest point. The apparent diameter is about 10°. The apparent diameter of the sun is 1/20 of your fist. If you look at the sun on Pluto, the apparent diameter is only 1/30 of that of the earth, which is about an angle of one cent.

However, if you think the sun is very faint from there, you are wrong. Even more than four billion kilometers away, the sun’s brightness is still very amazing. You still cannot look directly at the sun, otherwise it will be very painful. The brightness of the celestial body is inversely proportional to the square of the distance. We ignore the effect of the earth’s atmosphere. Roughly speaking, the brightness of the sun on Pluto is 1/900 of that of the earth. This ratio looks very exaggerated, but it is actually not the case.

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We know that astronomy describes the brightness of a celestial body, using Is the visual magnitude. Among them, the brightness difference between every 6 magnitudes is 100 times. The smaller the number, the moon. The apparent magnitude of the sun on the earth is -26.71 magnitude, so the brightness of the sun on Pluto is approximately equal to -19 magnitude. What is this concept? Full Moon has an apparent magnitude of about -13, which means that the sun on Pluto is still larger than the earth 251.2 times the full moon on the sky!


I think the most spectacular over Pluto is The satellites of-Charon. Charon is a transliterated name, literally translated as Charon. It is the largest moon of Pluto, with a diameter of about 1212 kilometers, which is about 1/3 of the moon.

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However, the distance between Charon and Pluto is only 19,740 kilometers , Which is about 1/20 of the distance between the earth and the moon. Therefore, if you stand on Pluto and look at Charon, its visual diameter effect is about 6.7 times that of the full moon, which is very spectacular. However, due to the distance from the sun, it may not be as bright as the moon.

However, having said that, whether you can see Charon or not depends on where you stand. Unlike the moon, Charon will not rise in the east and fall in the west, but will always be fixed in one position. The moon is locked by the earth’s gravity tide lock, everyone knows this. But for Pluto and Charon, they are tidal-locked to each other, so there is always only one face facing each other. If you land in the wrong location, you will never see Charon for a lifetime.

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Even if you can’t see Charon, you still have a chance See the other moons of Pluto. Pluto has five moons, but they are all very small. Due to the distance, it is difficult for us to accurately say how big Pluto’s other moons are. Roughly speaking, Charon may be the largest of them, but it will not exceed 160 kilometers; Charon is the smallest, and may not be at the narrowest point. 4.5 kilometers, the surface area is not as large as that of Chaoyang District in Beijing.


Okay, look up at the stars for too long, your neck will be sore, take a good look at you The world under your feet.

The surface of Pluto is not completely flat. When you look around, you can see”the mountains are open and clear”, and it is often more than 1,000 meters high, with the highest being more than 3,000 meters. Unlike the mountains on the earth, the mountains and rivers on the surface of Pluto are made of ice blocks. However, in the extremely cold temperature on the surface of Pluto, the hardness of these ice cubes is not inferior to that of stone.

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Scientists have also discovered a crater on the surface of Pluto, but it has not actually erupted yet. If it is really a volcano, it is not magma, but ice.

Pluto’s Heart

The most famous surface of Pluto is the huge plain spanning 1,590 kilometers -Tombaugh area. Its name comes from its discoverer Tom Bo. Because of its unique heart shape, it is called the Heart of Pluto by NASA.

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The heart of Pluto is a huge glacier, but not water Ice, but solid nitrogen and methane.

Underground Ocean

Based on the information returned by the New Horizons probe, scientists speculate that the Hundreds of kilometers below the surface, there may be a huge underground ocean hidden. So the question is:Pluto’s surface temperature is only -223°C. Why does it have a liquid underground ocean?

Scientists further analyzed that there is a rocky core inside Pluto, which contains a lot of radioactive elements. When they decay, they release heat. However, since this core is relatively small, it does not release a lot of heat. Even so, this is enough to keep the underground ocean liquid, and can even cause geological changes similar to the movement of the earth’s plates.

So if you ascend to Pluto, remember to watch out for Pluto shocks.

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Maybe, when you saw the underground ocean just now, you I already wanted to ask me a question:Are there any creatures in Pluto’s underground ocean?

We don’t know this question yet. After all, the equipment carried by the New Horizons probe is limited, and its focus is not just on Pluto, so this is still an unsolved mystery.

But having said that, you are all on Pluto, just see it with your own eyes, don’t forget to tell me when you come back…