Pluto is not simply a ball of ice and rock but a dynamic world that undergoes dramatic atmospheric changes. While they believe the changes are driven by the seasons, it may mostly come from how quickly things can change on Pluto. The seasons are propelled as much by the planet’s 248-year elliptical orbit as its axial tilt — unlike Earth where the tilt alone drives seasons. On Pluto spring transitions to polar summer quickly in the northern hemisphere because Pluto is moving faster along its orbit when it is closer to the Sun.
“If Earth had such an extreme orbit, and we were experiencing a nice springtime day with 60-70 degree F temperatures, as the orbit changed it could suddenly drop to -90 degrees F,” said [Mike] Brown.
Here’s a NASA video of Pluto taken from the Hubble images.
One of the more fascinating things about astrology is the synchronicity between the physical characteristics of the planets, the names assigned to them by astronomers, and the astrological correlations. Mars, the planet named for the God of War, appears reddish in color and as we now know, shows signs of ancient devastation. The astrological Mars rules aggression and warfare. Uranus, the planet with the most eccentric orbit (it orbits laterally rather than vertically) is associated with eccentric behavior. Now we discover that Pluto, the planet that rules endings and new beginnings, is itself always transforming itself.
What an amazing Universe we live in!