It’s Pluto Time!
Seen from Pluto the Sun would be no more than a very bright star, the large yellow disc of Earth skies would be a distant memory in the mind of the intergalactic tourist. The light Pluto receives from the Sun is a thousand times dimmer than that enjoyed on Earth and although Pluto does have a thin atmosphere, which scatters the little sunlight it receives, the bright skies of Earth will never be seen on Pluto.
Weather and atmospheric conditions can also affect the amount of sunlight received by Pluto although at this point little is known about these matters. What is known however, is that Pluto’s day lasts approximately 153 hours. Combine this with long seasons and a long axial tilt parts of Pluto can remain sunlit for four years at a time!
So what can the intrepid intergalactic tourist actually do on Pluto? Lying on a sun-soaked Plutonian beach catching a fantastic suntan certainly is not on the agenda! Reading a good book, for example, “The Interspatial Tourist Guide Galactica” would be a great starting point – once the eyes have adjusted to Pluto light.
Alternatively it is perfectly possible to take brilliantly clear pictures of the Plutonian planetscape for the photographic enthusiast. For the avid WordPress blogger this would make for great blog material! Be sure to use a long exposure or a wider aperture to collect as much light as possible and better still take a few tips from the New Horizons probe!
Pluto Time is a moment on Earth when the light conditions at sunrise and sunset matches sunlight at high noon on Pluto.
It’s always Pluto Time somewhere on our planet.
Pluto Time generates the next exact available time from any location in the world when you can go outside and discover what it would be like to actually be on Pluto experiencing the midday Plutonian light conditions . (Everyone has two chances each day, around dusk and dawn.)
NASA is also encouraging users of the tool to take photos during their local Pluto Time and share the images via Twitter with the hashtag #PlutoTime.
Charon, the largest of the 5 known moons of Pluto looms large in the Plutonian sky. It is actually bigger than Pluto and the two worlds both orbit each other – like a double planet. Charon is tidally locked to Pluto and therefore can only be seen from one side of the planet. On that side Charon would, on occasion, shine very brightly in the Plutonian skies. This is a similar effect to that of Earth and The Moon where we see only the bright side of the Moon but never the dark, far-side.
Recent images sent back by New Horizons show that it is in fact a sandy reddish colour.
Competition for Mars the traditional red planet! However Mars should probably not be too worried now that it is sporting unexpected blue sunsets and green-blue auroras to set it apart from the competition.
Not to be outdone by Mars with its latest batch of tourist-attracting features, images from New Horizons also show that Pluto has a huge heart shape slicing into the surface of what is not far short of fifty percent of its side. Just for good measure the images also show that there is a whale on Pluto! Otherwise known as an expansive shadowy area at the base going by the nick-name of “the whale”.
Despite Pluto being undeniably similar in colour to Mars, the reasons for this colouration are worlds apart. Mars’s rich red hues are a result of the iron oxide or rust which colours the planet’s rocks and soil. Whereas in Pluto’s case its colour seems to owe itself to the interaction between the Plutonian sunlight and hydrocarbon molecules. According to NASA, “The reddish colour is likely caused by hydrocarbon molecules that are formed when cosmic rays and solar ultraviolet light interact with methane in Pluto’s atmosphere and on its surface.”