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Pluto's famous heart powers icy winds on the dwarf planet 5nvklj





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Pluto's famous heart powers icy winds on the dwarf planet

Dragon
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Post by Dragon on Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:01 am

The dwarf planet's famous heart-shaped feature, which NASA's New Horizons spacecraft discovered during its epic July 2015 flyby, drives atmospheric circulation patterns on Pluto, a new study suggests.

Most of the action comes courtesy of the heart's left lobe, a 600-mile-wide (1,000 kilometers) nitrogen-ice plain called Sputnik Planitia. This exotic ice vaporizes during the day and condenses into ice again at night, causing nitrogen winds to blow, the researchers determined. (Pluto's atmosphere is dominated by nitrogen, like Earth's, though the dwarf planet's air is about 100,000 times thinner than the stuff we breathe.)

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Pluto's famous heart powers icy winds on the dwarf planet 334pu7m
Dragon
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Post by Dragon on Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:03 am

Pluto's famous heart powers icy winds on the dwarf planet NCYLvg6uYGZYMJuX35f7hB-1024-80
(Image: © NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)

The left lobe of Pluto's heart-shaped feature is a 600-mile-wide (1,000 kilometers) ice plain known as Sputnik Planitia.

Source / Image Courtesy


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Post by Dragon on Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:05 am



Material beneath Sputnik Planitia (an area within Tombaugh Regio - Pluto's 'heart') may be pushing the surface outwards, causing a "positive gravitational anomaly," according to NASA New Horizons co-investigator Richard Binzel.

This has led to a theory that slushy water-ice may be the cause of the push, and in turn, assist in the orbital alignment of Pluto and it's moon Charon.


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