The cold, thin atmosphere of Pluto


Pluto’s thin atmosphere is mainly nitrogen, and leaking away from the planet at a significant rate.  Scientists speculate that cryovolcanic activity is continually releasing enough new nitrogen vapor to keep the atmosphere from completely dissappearing.

Cryovolcanic.  That’s a term you don’t hear every day.  Significant areas of Pluto are covered in what looks like glaciers.  But they’re not made of ice — ice is too hard to flow at Pluto’s  -370F temperature.  Instead, the glaciers — which show hints of convection patterns  — are likely made of frozen nitrogen:


Cryovolcanism.  Just had to say that one more time.  You can read more at the New Horizons mission web site.

This entry was posted in Space & Astronomy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The cold, thin atmosphere of Pluto

  1. gonmrm says:

    Nice post there, love the photo! Best wishes for your blog! Visit mine, maybe you’ll enjoy as I enjoyed yours! Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.