Researchers suggest that Pluto’s atmosphere is slowly vanishing and the gases around the planet are disappearing as the atmosphere is turning back to ice. Researchers discover that the icy dwarf celestial body, which is moving farther away from the Sun, lies over 4.8 billion kilometers away from the Earth.
Pluto is a dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt, a ring of bodies beyond the orbit of Neptune. It was the first and the largest Kuiper belt object to be discovered. Pluto’s atmosphere is mostly nitrogen, mixed with methane and carbon monoxide. As temperatures drop on the surface, it seems that this is causing nitrogen to freeze up again, causing the atmosphere to fade.
The report from Space.com says that the researchers used telescopes in the United States and Mexico to study Pluto’s thin atmosphere. The study found that Pluto is moving farther away from the Sun and the planet currently needs 248 Earth years to orbit the sun. However, this distance increases, leaving the celestial body with less sunlight and cooler temperatures.
The atmosphere of Pluto is cool and it is unlike earth that earth’s atmosphere. Earth’s atmosphere is not supported by the vapor pressure of its surface ices. This feature of Pluto means that small changes in surface ice temperatures would result in large changes in the bulk density of its atmosphere. The stimulation and boost in atmosphere density noticed in 2015 is mostly due to thermal inertia which is a residual heat trapped in the nitrogen glaciers that has a delayed reaction to the increasing distance between Pluto and the Sun.
Moreover, Astronomers have been able to determine that Pluto has snow-covered mountains and fluid oceans below its surface in their recent study. The discoveries conducted could help the researchers to know more about how the atmosphere of Pluto works.