Poor Pluto has been redesignated as a "dwarf planet". Although smaller than the Earth's moon, Pluto has its own little moons - Charon, Hydra and Nix. For the past 20 years Pluto has actually been a bit closer to the Sun than Neptune, but its highly elliptical 286 year orbit is now out past Neptune and is carrying Pluto deep into the Kyper Belt object. In 2000 I was able to observe 13.9 magnitude Pluto through my 10" telescope. Pluto has now faded to 14.2 magnitude and will continue to receed and dim for more than another centuary.
Return to Pete's astro pix