Pluto Facts for Kids

A Picture of the Draft Planet Pluto
  • Planet Name: Pluto (Dwarf Planet)
  • Type of Planet: Dwarf Planet
  • Solar System Region: Outer Solar System
  • Distance from the Sun: 2,758,888,093 miles (perihelion) to 4,585,719,398 miles (aphelion)
  • Time to Orbit Around the Sun: 90,560 Earth days
  • Moons (natural satellites): 5
  • Total Surface Area: 17,000,000 square miles

20 Pluto Facts for Kids

  1. In August 2006, the IAU (International Astronomical Union) defined what a planet is. Because Pluto didn’t meet one of the three conditions to be considered a planet it was reclassified as a dwarf planet.
  2. The dwarf planet Pluto formed about 4.6 billion years ago.
  3. The dwarf planet Pluto was discovered on February 18th, 1930, by Clyde Tombaugh.
  4. Pluto is the fourth closest dwarf planet to the Sun.
  5. Prior to 2006, Pluto was the ninth most distance planet from the Sun.
  6. Pluto is in the outer part of our Solar System.
  7. Pluto is a dwarf planet, prior to 2006, Pluto was considered a terrestrial planet.
  8. Pluto is only 16.5% the size of Earth.
  9. The radius of Pluto is 738 miles.
  10. Pluto’s perihelion (closest) distance to the Sun is 2.75 billion miles.
  11. Pluto’s aphelion (farthest) distance to the Sun is 4.58 billion miles.
  12. It takes Pluto over 90,500 Earth days to complete an orbit around the Sun.
  13. Pluto has five known moons (natural satellites).
  14. Charon (Pluto I) is the largest moon orbiting Pluto.
  15. Nix (Pluto II) is the third largest moon orbiting Pluto.
  16. Hydra (Pluto III) is the farthest moon orbiting Pluto.
  17. The dwarf planet Pluto has no observed rings, but some scientists think it might be possible it has rings.
  18. Due to the distance from the Sun, thin atmosphere and cold temperatures, it is unlikely life could have evolved on Pluto as we currently know it.
  19. Pluto was named after the Roman god of the underworld, which was proposed by Venetia Burney at age 11.
  20. The debate if Pluto should be a planet or a dwarf planet continues. There is a 50/50 chance Pluto will once again be called a planet in the future.

Additional Resources on the Planet Pluto

  • Is Pluto a Planet? – Why can’t astronomers decide on whether or not Pluto is a planet? Everyday Einstein explains the controversy about our faraway neighbor.
  • Why is Pluto no longer a planet? – Learn why Pluto was downgraded to a draft planet in 2006 by the IAU.
  • Pluto – Wikipedia – Discover more awesome facts about Pluto on the Wikipedia website.