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PlutoAstronomical symbol of Pluto
Pluto in True Color
Discovered by Clyde W. Tombaugh
Discovered on February 18, 1930
Orbital characteristics ( Epoch J2000)
Semi-major axis 5,906,376,272 km
39.481 686 77 AU
Orbital circumference 36.530 T m
244.186 AU
Eccentricity 0.248 807 66
Perihelion 4,436,824,613 km
29.658 340 67 AU
Aphelion 7,375,927,931 km
49.305 032 87 AU
Orbital period 90,613.3055 d (248.09 a)
Synodic period 366.73 d
Avg. Orbital Speed 4.666 km/s
Max. Orbital Speed 6.112 km/s
Min. Orbital Speed 3.676 km/s
Inclination 17.141 75°
(11.88° to Sun's equator)
Longitude of the
ascending node
110.303 47°
Argument of the
113.763 29°
Number of satellites 3
Physical characteristics
Diameter 2306 ± 20 km
(18% of Earth, or 1423 ± 12 miles)
Surface area 1.795×107 km2
(0.033 Earths)
Volume 7.15×109 km3
(0.0066 Earths)
Mass (1.305±0.007)×1022 kg [1]
(0.0021 Earths)
Mean density 2.03±0.06 g/cm3 [2]
Equatorial gravity 0.58 m/s2
(0.059 gee)
Escape velocity 1.2 km/s
Rotation period −6.387230 d (6 d 9 h 17 m 36 s)
Rotation velocity 47.18 km/h (at the equator)
Axial tilt 122.54° (to orbit)
115.60° (to the ecliptic) [3]
Right ascension
of North pole
133.02° (8 h 52 min 5 s)
Declination -9.09°
Albedo 0.49–0.66 (varies by 35%) [4] [5]
Surface temp.
min mean max
33 K 44 K 55 K
Adjective Plutonian
Atmospheric characteristics
Atmospheric pressure 0.30 pascals (summer maximum)
Composition nitrogen, methane
Note: This article contains special characters.

Pluto is the ninth planet of the solar system. Discovered in 1930 and immediately classified as a planet, this status is disputed by some. [6]. Pluto has an eccentric orbit that is highly inclined with respect to the other planets and takes it inside the orbit of Neptune. Its largest moon is Charon, discovered in 1978; two smaller moons were discovered in 2005. Pluto's astronomical symbol is a P-L monogram, . This represents both the first two letters of the name Pluto and the initials of Percival Lowell, the man who lent his name to the observatory that was used to find Pluto. An alternate symbol resembles that of Neptune, but has a circle in place of the middle spoke in the top center. New Horizons, which lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on January 19, 2006, is expected to become the first unmanned spacecraft to perform a flyby and observation of Pluto in July 14, 2015.

Due to its size and unusual orbit, there has been debate regarding Pluto's classification as a major or a minor planet, and there is increasing momentum for recognizing "dual status." Pluto is classified as a trans-Neptunian object. As of July 31, 2005, one other trans-Neptunian object, 2003 UB313, had been found that is larger than Pluto.

Discovery and naming

The story of how Pluto was discovered actually begins with Neptune's discovery. In the 1840s, using Newtonian mechanics, Urbain Le Verrier and John Couch Adams had correctly predicted the position of the then-undiscovered planet Neptune after analysing the perturbations in the orbit of Uranus which could only have been caused by the gravitational pull of another massive planet. Thanks to their calculations, Neptune was discovered by Johann Gottfried Galle on September 23, 1846.

By the late 19th century, astronomers started speculating that Neptune's orbit too was being disturbed by another planet. By 1909, William H. Pickering and Percival Lowell had suggested several possible celestial co-ordinates for such a planet. In May 1911, the Bulletin of the Astronomical Society of France published the calculations of the Indian astronomer Venkatesh Ketakar which predicted a location for the undiscovered planet. Though Lowell died in 1916, the search for the elusive planet continued.

Pluto was discovered by the astronomer Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona on February 18, 1930 after an extensive search, when he compared photographic plates taken on January 23 and 29. Tombaugh also referenced a lesser-quality photo taken on January 20 to confirm movement. After the observatory obtained confirming photographs, the news of the discovery was telegraphed to the Harvard College Observatory on March 13, 1930. The planet was later found on photographs dating back to March 19, 1915. Its mean distance from Earth and its mean daily motion turned out to be 39.48 A.U and 14.283" - almost exactly as Ketakar had predicted, as a comparison done in 1984 pointed out. Ketakar also had correctly given one of Pluto's co-ordinates, though his work was ignored at that time and still remains unknown to most historians of astronomy.

It is now known that Pluto is too small to have an effect on Neptune's orbit. The discrepancies in Neptune's orbit observed by 19th century astromers, which had led to the search for Pluto, were simply due to an inaccurate value of Neptune's mass used by them.

In the matter of Pluto, the discretion of naming the new object belonged to the Lowell Observatory and its director, Vesto Melvin Slipher, who, in the words of Tombaugh, was "urged to suggest a name for the new planet before someone else did." Soon suggestions began to pour in from all over the world. Constance Lowell, Percival's widow who had delayed the search through her lawsuit, proposed Zeus, then Lowell, and finally her own first name, none of which met with any enthusiasm. One young couple even wrote to ask that the planet be named after their newborn child. Mythological names were much to the fore: Cronus and Minerva (proposed by the New York Times, unaware that it had been proposed for Uranus some 150 years earlier) were high on the list. Also there were Artemis, Athene, Atlas, Cosmos, Hera, Hercules, Icarus, Idana, Odin, Pax, Persephone, Perseus, Prometheus, Tantalus, Vulcan, Zymal, and many more. One complication was that many of the mythological names had already been allotted to the numerous asteroids. Virtually all the female names had been used up, and male names were usually reserved for objects with unusual orbits.

The name retained for the planet is that of the Roman god Pluto, and it is also intended to evoke the initials of the astronomer Percival Lowell, who predicted that a planet would be found beyond Neptune. The name was first suggested by Venetia Phair (née Burney), at the time an eleven-year-old girl from Oxford, England [7]. Over the breakfast table one morning her grandfather, who worked at Oxford University's Bodleian Library, was reading about the discovery of the new planet in the Times newspaper. He asked his granddaughter to suggest a good name for it. Venetia, who was quite interested in Greek and Roman myths and legends, suggested the name of the Roman god of the underworld. Professor Herbert Hall Turner cabled his colleagues in America with this suggestion, and after favourable consideration which was almost unanimous, the name Pluto was officially adopted and an announcement made by Slipher on May 1, 1930.

In the Chinese, Korean, and Japanese languages the planet's name is literally translated as the dark king star (冥王星). Despite Hades being an uncommon concept in Asian cultures the translation is appropriate. [8]. Vietnamese, another East Asian language, named the planet after Yama (Diêm Vương Tinh), the Guardian of Hell in Hindu and Buddhist traditions, perhaps partly because the direct reading of the Chinese characters 冥王星 in modern Vietnamese script can be misinterpreted as bright king star.


The orbits of the outer planets, showing Pluto's eccentricity, which causes it to cross Neptune's orbit
The orbits of the outer planets, showing Pluto's eccentricity, which causes it to cross Neptune's orbit

Pluto's orbit is unlike those of the other planets. It is highly inclined above the plane of the ecliptic, and highly eccentric (non-circular). The eccentricity of its orbit is such that it crosses the orbit of Neptune, making Pluto only the eighth-most distant planet from the Sun for part of each orbit; the most recent occurrence of this phenomenon lasted from February 7, 1979 through February 11, 1999. Mathematical calculations indicate that the previous occurrence only lasted fourteen years from July 11, 1735 to September 15, 1749. However, the same calculations indicate that Pluto was the eighth-most distant planet between April 30, 1483 and July 23, 1503, which is almost exactly the same length as the 1979 to 1999 period. Recent studies suggest each crossing of Pluto to inside Neptune's orbit lasts alternately for approximately thirteen and twenty years with minor variations.

Pluto's orbit seen from the plane of the ecliptic, showing its high inclination compared to the other planets
Pluto's orbit seen from the plane of the ecliptic, showing its high inclination compared to the other planets

Pluto orbits in a 3:2 orbital resonance with Neptune. When Neptune approaches Pluto from behind their gravity starts to pull on each other slightly, resulting in an interaction between their positions in orbit of the same sort that produces Trojan points. Since the orbits are eccentric, the 3:2 periodic ratio is favoured because this means Neptune always passes Pluto when they are almost farthest apart. Half a Pluto orbit later, when Pluto is nearing its closest approach, it initially seems as if Neptune is about to catch up to Pluto. But Pluto speeds up due to the gravitational acceleration from the Sun, stays ahead of Neptune, and pulls ahead until they meet again on the other side of Pluto's orbit.

Beginning in the 1990s, other trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) were discovered, and a certain number of these also have a 3:2 orbital resonance with Neptune. TNOs with this orbital resonance are named " plutinos", after Pluto.

Physical characteristics

More than seventy-six years after its discovery, many facts about Pluto remain unknown, mainly due to the fact that it is the only planet that has not been visited by spacecraft and that it is too far away for in-depth investigations with telescopes from Earth. What is known are the few physical properties listed below.

Mass and size

Pluto is not only smaller and much less massive than every other planet, but at less than 0.2 lunar masses it is also smaller and less massive than seven moons: Ganymede, Titan, Callisto, Io, Earth's Moon, Europa and Triton. However, Pluto is more than twice the diameter, and a dozen times the mass, of Ceres, the largest minor planet in the asteroid belt, and it was larger than any other object known in the trans-Neptunian Kuiper belt until 2003 UB313 was announced in 2005. See List of solar system objects by mass and List of solar system objects by radius.

Pluto's mass and diameter could only be estimated for many decades after its discovery. The discovery of its satellite Charon in 1978 enabled a determination of the mass of the Pluto-Charon system by simple application of Newton's formulation of Kepler's third law. Later Pluto's diameter was measured when it was occulted by Charon, and its disk can now be resolved by telescopes using adaptive optics.


Pluto's thin atmosphere is most likely nitrogen and carbon monoxide, in equilibrium with solid nitrogen and carbon monoxide ices on the surface. As Pluto moves away from its perihelion and farther from the Sun, more of its atmosphere freezes. When it returns to a closer proximity to the sun, the temperature of Pluto's solid surface will increase, causing the nitrogen ice to sublimate into gas - creating an anti-greenhouse effect. Much as sweat evaporating from the surface of human skin, this sublimation has a cooling effect on the planet and scientists have recently discovered [9], by use of the Submillimeter Array, that Pluto's temperature is 10 kelvins less than they expected.

Pluto was found to have an atmosphere from an occultation observation in 1988. When an object with no atmosphere occults a star, the star abruptly disappears; in the case of Pluto, the star dimmed out gradually. From the rate of dimming, the atmosphere was determined to have a pressure of 0.15 Pa, roughly 1/700,000 that of Earth.

In 2002, another occultation of a star by Pluto was observed and analyzed by teams led by Bruno Sicardy of the Paris Observatory [10] and by Jim Elliot of MIT [11] and Jay Pasachoff of Williams College [12]. Surprisingly, the atmosphere was estimated to have a pressure of 0.3 Pa, even though Pluto was further from the Sun than in 1988, and hence should be colder and have a less dense atmosphere. The current best hypothesis is that the south pole of Pluto came out of shadow for the first time in 120 years in 1987, and extra nitrogen sublimated from a polar cap. It will take decades for the excess nitrogen to condense out of the atmosphere.


Pluto's apparent magnitude is fainter than 14 m and therefore a telescope is required for observation. To be easily seen, a telescope of around 30 cm aperture is desirable. It looks star-like even in very big telescopes, because its angular diameter is only 0.15″. The colour of Pluto is light brown with a very slight tint of yellow.

Pluto's moons

Diagram of the Plutonian system
Diagram of the Plutonian system

Pluto has three known natural satellites: Charon, first identified in 1978, by astronomer James Christy, and two smaller, as yet unnamed moons refered to as P1 and P2 that were discovered in 2005.


The Pluto-Charon system is noteworthy for being the only planetary system in the solar system whose barycenter lies above the planet's surface. This and the large size of Charon relative to Pluto have prompted some astronomers to label it a double planet.

The Pluto-Charon system is also unusual among planetary systems in that they are tidally locked to each other: Charon always presents the same face to Pluto, and Pluto also always presents the same face to Charon.

The discovery of Charon allowed astronomers to determine the mass of the Pluto-Charon pair from their observed orbital period and separation by a straightforward application of Kepler's third law of planetary motion. The mass was found to be lower than even the lowest earlier estimates.

The discovery also led astronomers to alter their estimate of Pluto's size. Originally, it was believed that Pluto was larger than Mercury but smaller than Mars, but that calculation was based on the premise that a single object was being observed. Once it was realized that there were in fact two objects instead of one, the estimated size of Pluto was revised downward. Today, with modern adaptive optics, Pluto's disc can be resolved and thus its size can be directly determined.

Pluto and its primary satellite Charon
Pluto and its primary satellite Charon

Charon's discovery also resulted in the calculation of Pluto's albedo being revised upward; since the planet was now seen as being far smaller than originally estimated, by necessity its capacity to reflect light must be greater than what had been formerly believed. Current estimates place Pluto's albedo as marginally less than that of Venus, which is fairly high.

Pluto and Charon, compared to Earth's moon Luna

( Pronunciation key)

Orbital radius (km) Orbital period (days)
Pluto ploo'-toe
(65% Luna)
(18% Luna)
(0.6% Luna)
(25% Luna)
Charon shair'-ən
(35% Luna)
(2% Luna)
(5% Luna)

Previously, some researchers had theorized that Pluto and its moon Charon were moons of Neptune that were knocked out of Neptunian orbit when Triton was captured. Triton, the largest moon of Neptune, which shares many atmospherical and geological composition similarities with Pluto, may once have been a Kuiper belt object in a solar orbit, and today it is widely accepted that Pluto never orbited Neptune.

An occultation of a star by Charon in 2005, observed in South America by teams from MIT-Williams College, the Paris Observatory, and the Southwest Research Institute has led to improved knowledge of Charon's parameters.

Smaller moons

Pluto and its three known moons. Pluto and Charon are the bright objects in the center, the two smaller moons are at the right and bottom, farther out.
Pluto and its three known moons. Pluto and Charon are the bright objects in the center, the two smaller moons are at the right and bottom, farther out.
Artist's concept of the surface of S/2005 P 1.  Pluto & Charon (right) & S/2005 P 2 (bright dot on left).
Artist's concept of the surface of S/2005 P 1. Pluto & Charon (right) & S/2005 P 2 (bright dot on left).

Two additional moons were imaged by astronomers working with the Hubble Space Telescope on May 15, 2005, and have received provisional designations of S/2005 P 1 and S/2005 P 2. They were confirmed with " precovery" Hubble images from June 14, 2002. Observations suggest they orbit Pluto at at least twice the distance Charon does. P2 stays about 49,000 km from the planet; P1 lies even further away at 65,000 km. They have nearly circular prograde orbits in the same orbital plane as Charon, at distances two and three times farther away and very near to 4:1 and 6:1 orbital resonances with Charon.

P1 and P2 are thought to be about 60km and 50km in diameter (Charon is about 1,200km in diameter), and are thought to have masses less than 0.3% of Charon's (or 0.03% of Pluto's mass). The discovery team plans follow-up observations with Hubble in February 2006, and ground-based observations have been made as well. [13] [14]

A quadruple system ?

In addition to the discovery of the two moons, the Hubble observations imposed strong constraints on any additional moons in the vicinity of the planet. With 90% confidence, no other moons larger than 12 km, assuming Charon-like albedo of 0.38 (or 37 km —assuming a albedo of 0.04) exist beyond 5 arcsec from Pluto (as seen from Earth). Without these constraints, prograde moons could orbit Pluto inside its stability zone up to 2.2 Gm from the planet. Surprisingly, only the near 3% of this zone is occupied by the known satellites, leaving the rest apparently void. In the discoverers’ own terms, the Pluto system is highly compact and largely empty.

Scientists have also speculated that Charon, P1 and P2 were all created by the same impact event which may also have resulted in a particle ring around Pluto. [15]

A dozen other binary or multiple TNO systems are known, including the large 2003 UB313 and 2003 EL61.

Exploration of Pluto

Photo of New Horizons, the world's first probe to Pluto, being launched on January 19, 2006 (it is expected to reach Pluto in July 2015)
Photo of New Horizons, the world's first probe to Pluto, being launched on January 19, 2006 (it is expected to reach Pluto in July 2015)

Little is known about Pluto because of its great distance from Earth and because no exploratory spacecraft have visited Pluto yet. The Voyager 1 probe was originally intended to visit Pluto, but due to budget cuts and lack of interest — before the discovery of Charon or Pluto's size and atmosphere — the flyby was scrapped in order to facilitate a close flyby of Saturn's moon Titan.

The first spacecraft to visit Pluto will be NASA's New Horizons, a mission led by the Southwest Research Institute and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

The mission launched on January 19, 2006. It will benefit from a gravity assist from Jupiter, and arrive at Pluto in July 2015.

New Horizons will use a remote sensing package that includes imaging instruments and a radio science investigation tool, as well as spectroscopic and other experiments, to characterize the global geology and morphology of Pluto and its moon Charon, map their surface composition and characterize Pluto's neutral atmosphere and its escape rate. New Horizons would also photograph the surfaces of Pluto and Charon. The mission plan also calls for a flyby of one or more Kuiper belt objects by 2022.

The New Horizons mission replaced the Pluto Kuiper Express mission, which was cancelled in 2000 because of increasing costs and launch vehicle delays.

The Pluto debate

Planet X?

The planet Pluto was originally discovered in 1930 in the course of a search for a body sufficiently massive to account for supposed anomalies in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune. Once it was found, its faintness and failure to show a visible disk cast doubt on the idea that it could be Percival Lowell's Planet X. Lowell had made a prediction of Pluto's position in 1915 which had turned out to be fairly close to its actual position at that time; however Ernest W. Brown concluded almost immediately that this was a coincidence, and this view is retained today. Lowell had also made earlier, different predictions of Planet X's position beginning in 1902. [16]

In the following decades estimates of the Plutonian mass and diameter were the subject of debate as telescopes and imaging systems improved. The consensus steadily favored smaller masses and diameters as time passed. Indeed, one observer waggishly pointed out that if the trend were extrapolated, the planet seemed to be in danger of vanishing altogether, a remark which proved possibly prophetic in light of later debates over Pluto's status as a "planet".

In an attempt to reconcile Pluto's small apparent size with its identification as "Planet X", the theory of specular reflection was proposed. This held that observers were measuring only the diameter of a bright spot on the highly reflective surface of a much larger planet which could thereby be massive without having an exceptionally high density.

The uncertainty was conclusively resolved by the discovery of Pluto's satellite Charon in 1978. This made it possible to determine the combined mass of the Pluto-Charon system which turned out to be lower even than that anticipated by skeptics of the specular reflection theory, which was then rendered completely untenable. The accepted figure for Pluto's diameter today makes it considerably smaller than the Moon, with only a fraction of the Moon's mass on account of its being largely composed of ice. More recently, measurements of the path of Voyager 2 have shown that Neptune has a greater mass than previously believed and that when the updated mass is taken into account there is no anomalous movement of Uranus or Neptune.

Thus Pluto's discovery and Lowell's 1915 prediction were largely coincidental as Pluto actually has no role in what were believed to be anomalies in Neptune and Uranus' motion. Pluto's discovery was mostly due to the diligence of Tombaugh's search.

While Pluto's identification as Planet X began to be doubted soon after its discovery, and for some decades afterwards some considered that a hypothetical tenth planet might be the true Planet X which supposedly caused anomalies in Uranus and Neptune's position, Pluto's identity as the solar system's ninth planet was unquestioned until the 1990s.

Minor planet?

An image of Pluto and Charon taken with a 61" telescope; note the difficulty in resolution despite telescope size.  This small size is one of the reasons Pluto's planetary status is debated.
An image of Pluto and Charon taken with a 61" telescope; note the difficulty in resolution despite telescope size. This small size is one of the reasons Pluto's planetary status is debated.

Starting in September 1992 scientists began discovering hundreds of other bodies in the area of the solar system beyond the orbit of Neptune, a region now known as the Kuiper belt. The first of these new objects was (15760) 1992 QB1. The continued discovery of these objects, especially of plutinos, rekindled a debate that goes on to this day: is Pluto a major planet or simply one of the largest trans-Neptunian objects?

Trans-Neptunian objects are considered to be minor planets, so the question arose whether to consider Pluto to be one also. This planetary sciences debate landed in newspaper headlines, editorials, and on the Internet in the mid- to late-1990s. Thoughts that Pluto might be "demoted" to non-planet status created an emotional response in certain sectors of the public. Such news outlets as the BBC News Online, the Boston Globe, and USA Today all printed stories noting that the International Astronomical Union was considering dropping Pluto's planetary status. "Save Pluto" websites sprang up, and school children sent letters to astronomers and the IAU.

On February 3, 1999, Brian Marsden of the Minor Planet Center inadvertently fueled the debate when he issued an editorial in the Minor Planet Electronic Circular 1999-C03 noting that the 10,000th minor planet was about to be numbered and this called for a large celebration (the IAU celebrates every thousandth numbered minor planet in some way). He suggested that Pluto be honored with the number 10,000, giving it "dual citizenship" of sorts as both a major and a minor planet. [17]

Between the media reports and the Minor Planet Electronic Circulars, IAU General Secretary Joannes Anderson issued a press release that same day, stating there were no plans to change Pluto's planetary status. Eventually, the number 10,000 was assigned to an "ordinary" asteroid, 10000 Myriostos.

The debate centers on how a "planet", from the Greek for "wanderer", is an appellation that depends upon an object's particular size, formation, or orbit. Some argue that not only is Pluto a major planet but also some moons like Titan, Europa or Triton, or even the larger asteroids are as well. Some argue that an astronomical object more than about 360 km in diameter, at which point the object has a tendency to become round under its own gravity, should be known as a major planet; this would include several moons and a handful of asteroids. Isaac Asimov suggested the term mesoplanet be used for planetary objects intermediate in size between Mercury, the smallest terrestrial planet with a diameter of 4879.4 km and Ceres, the largest known asteroid with a mean diameter of 950 km, which would include Pluto but not most moons.

New discoveries

Continuing discoveries in the Trans-Neptunian region keep rekindling the debate. In 2002, 50000 Quaoar was discovered, with a 1,280 km diameter, making it a bit more than half the size of Pluto. Another recent discovery, 90482 Orcus, is probably even larger. In 2004 the discoverers of 90377 Sedna, an extremely distant object well beyond the other known Trans-Neptunian objects, placed an upper limit of 1,800 km on its diameter, close to Pluto's 2,320 km.

On July 29, 2005, a Trans-Neptunian object called 2003 UB313 was announced, which on the basis of its magnitude and simple albedo considerations is assumed to be larger than Pluto. This caused its discoverers to call it the "10th planet" of the solar system, although there is no consensus yet on whether to call it a planet, and others consider the new discovery to be the strongest argument yet for demoting Pluto to the status of a minor planet. 2003 UB313 could be the largest object yet discovered in the solar system since Neptune in 1846. The last remaining distinguishing feature of Pluto is now its large moon, Charon, and its atmosphere; these characteristics may not, however, be unique to Pluto: several other Trans-Neptunian objects are known to have satellites; and 2003 UB313's spectrum suggests that it has a similar surface composition to Pluto, as well as a moon discovered in September 2005.

There is some historical precedent for "demoting" a "planet" in the light of subsequent discoveries. The first four asteroids ( 1 Ceres, 2 Pallas, 3 Juno and 4 Vesta) were considered to be planets for several decades (in part because their sizes were not accurately known at the time). However, in 1845, the first new asteroid in thirty-eight years was discovered ( 5 Astraea), just one year before Neptune, and soon every year brought more asteroid discoveries. It was soon recognized that Ceres and the others were just the most prominent members of a populous asteroid belt, and although asteroids are also known as " minor planets", they are no longer considered "planets". Some see in this a precedent for noting that Pluto is just the most prominent member of the Kuiper belt.

On the other hand, it may very well be that regardless of future astronomical discoveries, Pluto will remain grandfathered as a planet in much the same way that Europe is considered a separate continent for historical reasons although geographically it makes more sense, from first principles, to consider both Europe and Asia to comprise the single continent of Eurasia.

Pluto in popular culture

  • Donald W. Horner, in Their Destiny ( 1912), described spaceflight to Alpha Centauri by astronauts who, as they leave the solar system, pass a planet beyond Neptune.
  • In H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos stories ( 1928–), Pluto is called Yuggoth or Iukkoth. In the stories, a fictional alien race called the Mi-go have a base there. There are some stories, though, that identify Yuggoth with a huge world situated beyond Pluto on an orbit perpendicular to the ecliptic.
  • Mickey Mouse's dog Pluto first appeared in the 1930 cartoon The Chain Gang; it was adapted into Minnie Mouse's dog Rover, and shortly thereafter became Mickey's Pluto, being named for the planet.
  • Stanton Coblentz's In Plutonian Depths ( Wonder Stories Quarterly, Spring 1931) was the first story to take advantage of the newly discovered and named world.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's novel Have Space Suit-Will Travel ( 1958), Pluto is used by aliens as a remote base for Earth exploration. In Heinlein's story Sky Lift (1953), a torch-ship pilot flies on a mercy mission to Pluto.
  • In Larry Niven's novel World of Ptavvs ( 1966), Pluto was theorized to have been a moon of Neptune until it was knocked out of orbit by an interstellar craft.
  • Martinex of the Guardians of the Galaxy is the last survivor of a human colony in Pluto. His ancestors were African. The character first appeared in January, 1969 and operates in the 31st century.
  • In the 1974 Japanese anime series Space Battleship Yamato, also known as Star Blazers, the eponymous starship destroys an alien base on Pluto and fights a subsequent battle in an asteroid belt beyond Pluto. Eighteen years later astronomers confirmed the existence of the real-life Kuiper belt.
  • In the Doctor Who ( 1963–) serial The Sun Makers ( 1977), set far in the future, Pluto is covered with vast cities that are warmed by artificial suns, but access to sunlight is controlled by a sinister ruling elite.
  • In James P. Hogan's Inherit the Stars ( 1977), first book of the Gentle Giants series, Pluto turns out to be the remains of Minerva, a planet that exploded to form the asteroid belt 50,000 years ago.
  • In John DeChancie's Starrigger series ( 1983), Pluto is the location of our solar system's dimensional gate to the interstellar Skyway.
  • Pluto is featured in Kim Stanley Robinson's novel Icehenge ( 1985), in which a mysterious artificial structure is found on the planet's north pole.
  • In the computer game Star Control II ( 1990), and consequently in The Ur-Quan Masters, the Spathi Captain Fwiffo can be found on Pluto.
  • In the anime Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon ( 1992- 1997), Sailor Pluto is the first Outer Senshi to be discovered, and her talisman is the Garnet Orb. She guards the gates of time, and her Greek god equivalent is Hades, the lord of the underworld, which she derives her attacks from (e.g. Dead Scream). On her forehead, she bears the planet's symbol and her image colour is black (sometimes purple).
  • The final section of Dave Sim's graphic novel Minds ( Cerebus the Aardvark, Volume 10, 1996) takes place on Pluto.
  • Christine Lavin's song Planet X (1996) is a good-natured protest against suggestions that Pluto is not a planet.
  • In the final season of the Sopranos, Tony's second uncle, Justin Janish, will make reference to a gunshot wound as the size of "Pluto". When in all reality that is impossible. While it has been proven that Pluto is the smallest planet, it is not small enough to warrant such comment.
  • In Earth: Final Conflict ( 1997- 2002), a mission to Pluto is abandoned when the alien Taelons provide core samples from Pluto for Earth scientists.
  • In the Japanese anime series Cowboy Bebop ( 1998), it is mentioned that a " supermax" maximum security penitentiary is located on Pluto.
  • In the game Starsiege ( 1999), Pluto is destroyed at the end of the game.
  • The television show Futurama (1999- 2003) has featured Pluto on occasion, mainly as a habitat for penguins.
  • In the television show Aqua Teen Hunger Force ( 2000), two of the show's "Villains", Oglethorpe and Emory (The Plutonians), are from Pluto.
  • In the cartoon Fairly Oddparents ( 2001–) Cosmo destroys Pluto with a button the president lost.
  • In the 2003 PC Game Freelancer, one of the start movies shows Pluto being destroyed by an alien race 800 years before the game starts.
  • In the game Epoch Star ( 2004), Pluto is the home planet of the Anthropite civilization.
  • In the second part of a BBC drama documentary called Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets ( 2004) Pluto is the penultimate destination on a hypothetical human space flight to planets of the Solar System

Special characters

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