The outer planets
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The Outer Planets. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Uranus. About 4 times diameter of Earth 3 billion km (1-3/4 billion miles) from Sun 84 Years to Circle Sun Rotates in 16 hours Five large satellites (500-1500 km), ten smaller ones Nine narrow rings. Uranus. Uranus from Voyager.

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The outer planets

The Outer Planets

Uranus, Neptune and Pluto


Uranus
Uranus

  • About 4 times diameter of Earth

  • 3 billion km (1-3/4 billion miles) from Sun

  • 84 Years to Circle Sun

  • Rotates in 16 hours

  • Five large satellites (500-1500 km), ten smaller ones

  • Nine narrow rings











Neptune
Neptune

  • About 4 times diameter of Earth- a bit smaller than Uranus

  • 4.5 billion km (2.8 billion miles) from Sun

  • 165 Years to Circle Sun

  • Rotates in 18 hours

  • One large satellite (2700 km), seven smaller ones

  • Four narrow rings







Pluto
Pluto

  • At 2300 km, Pluto is the smallest planet

  • Has most elliptical orbit: ranges from 4.4 to 7.4 billion km from Sun (2.8-4.5 billion miles)

  • Actually crosses orbit of Neptune; closer to Sun than Neptune until 2009

  • Orbits in 248 years, 1.5 times Neptune

  • Because of orbital tilt and resonance, cannot collide with Neptune


Pluto and charon
Pluto and Charon

  • Pluto’s moon Charon is almost half as big as Pluto (1100 km)

  • Orbits only 20,000 km away

  • Pluto and Charon always keep same face to each other (rotation locked)

  • Pluto rotates, and Charon revolves, in 6.4 days





Plutinos and the kuiper belt
Plutinos and the Kuiper Belt

  • The Kuiper Belt is an outer ice asteroid belt, probably the source of most comets

  • Hundreds are now known orbiting beyond Neptune, some beyond Pluto

  • Pluto is just the biggest of these objects and not really a planet

  • Several dozen have periods similar to Pluto’s - 250 years - and have been dubbed “plutinos.”