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Pluto's atmosphere may have similarities to Earth

Pluto Haze
Pluto Haze
Posted at 7:30 AM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-22 17:54:02-04

Scientists are just starting to learn more about Pluto, but it seems the dwarf planet might have something in common with Earth. 

NASA's New Horizons mission discovered haze layers surrounding Pluto in July, but that discovery is leading to more information about its atmosphere.

Pluto's atmosphere is made of nitrogen and the layers of haze vary in brightness depending on several factors, but the haze maintains its vertical structure, according to newly released information from NASA.

The brightness variations could be due to gravity waves. Those occur on Earth and Mars, and it appears Pluto may have similar occurrences. 

“Pluto is simply amazing,” said Andy Cheng, LORRI principal investigator from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. “When I first saw these images and the haze structures that they reveal, I knew we had a new clue to the nature of Pluto’s hazes. The fact that we don’t see the haze layers moving up or down will be important to future modelling efforts.”