Getting to understand the sizes of celestial objects can be tricky. Particularly the differences between them. It leads us to questions such as whether ‘x’ is bigger than ‘y’. And the Moon and Pluto are two such examples.
So, is the Moon bigger than Pluto? The Moon is bigger than Pluto, with a surface area of around 38 million km² compared to Pluto’s 1.67 x 107 square kilometers. Equally, the diameter of the Moon is 3,474.8km as opposed to the 2,370km diameter of Pluto. The moon is larger than any of the known dwarf planets.
Perhaps what you were expecting, maybe not.
So with this in mind, let us delve into the sizes of each respective celestial object so we can get a greater understanding of their size differences.
How Big Is The Moon?
The Earth’s Moon is the fifth largest Moon that orbits a planet in the Solar System. It is a quarter of the size of planet Earth.
Here are the important numbers for the Moon in regard to its size:
- Radius: 1,740 km.
- Mean Diameter/Width: 3,475 km
- Equatorial Circumference: 10,917 km
- Surface area: 38 million square km
- Mass: 7.35 x 10^22 kg
- Density: 3.34 grams per cubic centimeter (3.34 g/cm3)
- Distance From Earth: 384,400 kilometers
How Big Is Pluto?
Pluto is classified as a Dwarf Planet. It is considered to be a sixth of the size of planet Earth.
Here are the important numbers for the Pluto in regard to its size:
- Radius: 1,185 km.
- Mean Diameter/Width: 3,370 km
- Equatorial Circumference: 7,445 km
- Surface area: 1.67 x 107 square kilometers
- Mass: 1.31 x 1022 kg
- Density: 1.88 grams per cubic centimeter (3.34 g/cm3)
- Distance From Earth: 5.1767 billion km
Pluto was actually demoted from planetary status in 2006, due in part to its size, and also due to it’s relative gravitational pull.
Other Interesting Differences Between The Moon and Pluto
Satellite vs Dwarf Planet
The Moon is a satellite, meaning it orbits a planet (Earth) in our solar system due to the Earth’s gravitational pull.
Pluto, on the other hand, is classified as a Dwarf Planet. It actually has six moons of its own; Charon, Hydra, Kerberos, Nix and Styx, that have their own orbit.
It is believed that planets are formed through the collision of gas and dust particles, where they ultimately stick together while orbiting a star.
The Moon on the other hand, is believed to have formed during a collision between the Earth and another small planet, roughly the size Mars. The debris from this impact collected in an orbit around Earth to form the Moon.
The temperature on moon can range from -424° F (-253°C) at the moons poles during the Lunar Night to 250° Fahrenheit (120° Celsius) during lunar daytime at the moon’s equator.
Pluto, on the other hand, has an average temperature of -387°F (-232°C),
While they both have a thin, tenuous atmosphere, the Moon is almost atmosphere-free.
Whereas Pluto’s atmosphere, is made up largely of nitrogen and smaller amounts of methane and carbon monoxide.
The Moon is a light to dark grey color, though Pluto has shades of red/pink, gray and blue.
The average day on the Moon lasts for 708.7 hours, or 29.5 days.
Compare this to Pluto, which has a day that equates to 6.4 Earth Days.
The moon is not bigger than Mercury. The surface area of Mercury is 74.8 million km² compared to that of the Moon’s 38 million km². The diameter of Mercury is 4,879.4 km compared to that of the Moon’s 3,474.8km.
Pluto is not bigger than Mercury. The surface area of Mercury is 74.8 million km² compared to that of the Pluto’s 1.67 x 107 square kilometers. The diameter of Mercury is 4,879.4 km compared to that of Pluto’s 2,370km.
Pluto’s biggest moon, Charon, is not bigger than Pluto. It is considered half of Pluto’s size.
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Hey, my name is Chris. I’m a passionate and seasoned astronomer who loves nothing more than observing the night sky. I also love researching, learning, and writing all things Space and the Universe. I created Astronomy Scope to share my knowledge, experience, suggestions, and recommendations of what I have learned along the way while helping anyone to get into and maximize their enjoyment of the hobby.