G-pluto.T.gif (1179 bytes) Exploring The Planets

Pluto's Unusual Orbit

The orbit of Pluto is unusual in several ways. It is inclined more than 17 from the ecliptic (the plane in which the orbits of the planets lie). The orbit is also more eccentric (far from circular) than any other planetary orbit. At times, Pluto is closer to the Sun than the orbit of Neptune.

Every 228 years, Pluto's orbit brings it closer to the Sun than Neptune for a period of 20 years. From 1979 to March 1999, Neptune was the farthest planet from the Sun. 

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1999 National Air and Space Museum