Dwarf planet Pluto with a heart-shaped feature showing.


Pluto was once our solar system's ninth planet, but has been reclassified as a dwarf planet. It's located in the Kuiper Belt.

Pluto Overview

Pluto is a dwarf planet located in a distant region of our solar system beyond Neptune known as the Kuiper Belt. Pluto was long considered our ninth planet, but the International Astronomical Union reclassified Pluto as a dwarf planet in 2006.

NASA's New Horizons was the first spacecraft to explore Pluto up close, flying by the dwarf planet and its moons in 2015. It found that Pluto is a complex world with mountains, valleys, plains, craters, and apparently even glaciers.

Pluto was discovered in 1930 by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. It was named by 11-year-old Venetia Burney of Oxford, England.

Eyes on the Solar System lets you explore the planets, moons, asteroids, and comets.

Pop Culture

When Pluto was reclassified in 2006 from a planet to a dwarf planet, there was widespread outrage on behalf of the demoted planet. As the textbooks were updated, the internet spawned memes with Pluto going through a range of emotions, from anger to loneliness. But since the release of New Horizons images showing a very prominent heart-shaped feature on the surface, the sad Pluto meme has given way to a very content, loving Pluto that would like to once again be visited by a spacecraft.

The Disney cartoon character Pluto, Mickey's faithful dog, made his debut in 1930, the same year Clyde Tombaugh, an astronomer at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, discovered the dwarf planet. There is speculation that Walt Disney named the animated dog after the recently discovered planet to capitalize on its popularity, but other accounts are less certain of a direct link.

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