Former planet may have grown a tail

Former planet may have grown a tail

Pluto appears to trail a wispy carbon monoxide cloud

By Ron Cowen, 14:05 PM April 29, 2011

Just like Mickey’s dog, the former planet Pluto has a tail — or at least a hint of one.

Scientists have detected a wisp of carbon monoxide in Pluto’s thin upper atmosphere, extending a quarter of the way to its largest moon, Charon, or about 3,400 kilometers above Pluto’s surface. To the astronomers who detected it using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, the cloud appears to have properties resembling a comet’s gas tail.

“Whether Pluto's atmosphere forms a tail is just ...

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