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Pluto's Orbit - Windows to the Universe

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This is a drawing showing the orbit of Pluto and the outer planets. It shows the planets on June 1, 1997. In the larger version at least, you can see dots next to the names indicating planet position. In 1997, Pluto was closer to the Sun than Neptune.
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JPL/NASA

Pluto's Orbit

Pluto has the strangest orbit of all the planets in the solar system. The orbit comes inside the orbit of Neptune. This means Pluto is the 8th planet rather than the 9th planet for about 20 years at a time. Pluto was the 8th planet from January 1979 to February 1999. Neptune is now the 9th planet for over 200 years!

It takes 248 years for Pluto to complete its orbit. This means that a single Pluto year is 248 earth years long!

Last modified February 8, 2002 by Jennifer Bergman.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF