Scientists have finally figured out how big Pluto really is

Humans were never really sure how big Pluto was — until this morning, that is.

NASA’s New Horizons mission took an accurate reading of Pluto’s size as it flew by the object that was formerly known as the ninth planet this morning. The mission found Pluto to be 1,473 miles in diameter, making it larger than all other known solar system objects beyond the orbit of Neptune. Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, was measures at 751 miles in diameter.

The map above from NASA shows what Pluto and Charon look like compared with the Earth’s surface. Pluto’s diameter (the straight-line distance through the object from one side to another) is about the equivalent of the distance from Boston to Miami. And the diameter of Charon is roughly equal to the distance from New York to Chicago.

Correction: An earlier version of this post mixed up circumference and diameter. The distances above are for Pluto and Charon’s diameter, not circumference. We know the difference, we swear.


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