Pluto vs Moon: Comparison, Size, Mass, Gravity, Similarities and Differences

Pluto vs Moon: Comparison, Size, Mass, Gravity, Similarities and Differences

Pluto vs Moon

When gazing up at the night sky, two celestial bodies often capture our attention: Pluto and the Moon. While they both inhabit our solar system, these distant worlds offer distinct features and mysteries that intrigue astronomers and stargazers alike. In this blog post, we delve into the intriguing contrasts between Pluto and the Moon, uncovering their unique characteristics, histories, and contributions to our understanding of the cosmos.

Pluto Compared to Moon

Exploring the comparisons between Pluto and the Moon reveals intriguing distinctions and similarities, shedding light on the diversity of celestial bodies within our solar system.

Pluto and Moon Similarities

  1. Orbiting Celestial Bodies:
    • Both Pluto and the Moon are natural satellites that orbit larger celestial bodies within our solar system. Pluto orbits the Sun as a dwarf planet, while the Moon orbits Earth.
  2. Presence in Our Solar System:
    • Both Pluto and the Moon are part of our solar system and are visible from Earth.

Pluto and Moon Differences

  1. Classification:
    • Pluto is classified as a dwarf planet, while the Moon is Earth's natural satellite. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) reclassified Pluto in 2006, leading to its distinction from the traditional group of planets.
  2. Size:
    • Pluto is smaller than Earth's Moon. Pluto has a diameter of approximately 2,377 kilometers, while the Moon has a diameter of about 3,474 kilometers.
  3. Mass:
    • While Pluto has a smaller diameter, its mass is greater than that of the Moon. Pluto's mass is approximately 0.0022 times Earth's mass, while the Moon's mass is about 0.0123 times Earth's mass.
  4. Gravity:
    • Pluto's surface gravity is weaker than the Moon's due to its smaller size and mass. The surface gravity on Pluto is approximately 0.063 times that of Earth, while the Moon's surface gravity is about 0.165 times that of Earth.

Pluto and Moon Size Comparison

  • Pluto:
    • Diameter: Approximately 2,377 kilometers
  • Moon:
    • Diameter: Approximately 3,474 kilometers

Pluto and Moon Mass Comparison

  • Pluto:
    • Mass: Approximately 0.0022 times Earth's mass
  • Moon:
    • Mass: Approximately 0.0123 times Earth's mass

Pluto and Moon Gravity Comparison

  • Pluto:
    • Gravity: Approximately 0.063 times Earth's gravity
  • Moon:
    • Gravity: Approximately 0.165 times Earth's gravity

Pluto and Moon Side by Side

If placed side by side, the Moon would appear larger and more massive than Pluto. Despite both being natural satellites, the Moon's proximity to Earth and its larger size contribute to a more significant gravitational influence compared to Pluto.

Moon and Pluto

Here's a concise breakdown of the main differences between Pluto and the Moon:


  • Pluto is relatively small, about 1,473 miles in diameter.
  • The Moon is larger, with a diameter of around 2,159 miles.


  • Pluto is incredibly cold, with temperatures as low as -375°F.
  • The Moon experiences extreme temperature shifts, from 260°F during the day to -280°F at night.


  • The Moon is significantly more massive than Pluto.
  • Pluto has much less mass compared to the Moon.


  • Pluto has a thin atmosphere of nitrogen and methane.
  • The Moon lacks a significant atmosphere, with only a very thin exosphere.

These differences highlight the distinct characteristics of Pluto and the Moon, from their sizes and temperatures to their masses and atmospheric conditions.

Pluto vs Moon Size

Pluto, though once considered the ninth planet, is relatively small, with a diameter of about 1,473 miles (2,377 kilometers). This makes it even smaller than some moons in our solar system. In contrast, our Moon is significantly larger, boasting a diameter of approximately 2,159 miles (3,474 kilometers). While both Pluto and the Moon are relatively small compared to Earth, the Moon's size allows it to exert gravitational effects on our planet, influencing tides and stabilizing Earth's rotation.

Pluto vs Moon Temperature

Pluto inhabits the frigid depths of the Kuiper Belt, where temperatures can plummet to around -375°F (-225°C). Its thin atmosphere offers little insulation, contributing to the extreme cold. The Moon, with no significant atmosphere to retain heat, experiences dramatic temperature shifts. Lunar daytime temperatures can soar to around 127°C (260°F), while nighttime temperatures plummet to a bone-chilling -173°C (-280°F). These stark temperature contrasts define the challenging conditions both Pluto and the Moon endure.

Pluto vs Moon Mass

When it comes to mass, the Moon is substantially more massive than Pluto. The Moon has a mass of about 7.35 x 10^22 kilograms, contributing significantly to Earth's gravitational forces. In comparison, Pluto's mass is much smaller, approximately 1.303 x 10^22 kilograms. The Moon's greater mass is a result of its larger size, while Pluto's relatively lower mass reflects its dwarf planet classification and distant location.

Pluto vs Moon Atmosphere

Pluto possesses a thin and tenuous atmosphere composed mainly of nitrogen, with traces of methane and other gases. While this atmosphere is far from substantial, it does play a role in creating the haze that surrounds the dwarf planet. In contrast, the Moon lacks a significant atmosphere altogether. Its exosphere is so thin that individual gas molecules rarely collide, making it inhospitable to sustain human life. The absence of a dense atmosphere contributes to the Moon's stark temperature variations and lack of weather phenomena.

Moon vs Pluto

Here's a detailed specification table comparing Pluto and the Moon:

Specification Pluto Moon
Classification Dwarf Planet Natural Satellite (Moon)
Diameter Approximately 1,473 miles (2,377 kilometers) Approximately 2,159 miles (3,474 kilometers)
Distance from Sun Variable due to its elliptical orbit Approximately 238,855 miles (384,400 kilometers)
Surface Composition Frozen nitrogen, methane, and other ices Regolith (lunar soil), rock, impact craters
Gravitational Effects Minimal influence on other bodies Significant gravitational effects on Earth
Atmosphere Thin atmosphere of nitrogen and methane Virtually no atmosphere (exosphere)
Temperature Range Extremely cold, around -375°F (-225°C) Dramatic shifts: 260°F (127°C) to -280°F (-173°C)
Rotation Period About 6.4 Earth days About 27.3 Earth days
Revolution Period About 248 Earth years About 27.3 Earth days
Exploration Explored by the New Horizons spacecraft in 2015 Explored by various lunar missions, including the Apollo program
Impact on Earth Negligible gravitational influence Creates tides and stabilizes Earth's rotation
Geological Activity Possible cryovolcanism and geologic processes Lacks active geological processes
Notable Features Icy plains, mountains, and the Tombaugh Regio Impact craters, maria (dark plains), highlands


Physical Characteristics

The Pluto we once regarded as the ninth planet is now classified as a dwarf planet. Situated in the distant Kuiper Belt, Pluto is much smaller than our Moon, with a diameter of around 1,473 miles (2,377 kilometers). Its surface is coated with a layer of frozen nitrogen, methane, and other ices. Pluto's thin atmosphere gives it a hazy appearance, and its surface features include plains, mountains, and icy regions.

In contrast, our Moon is Earth's natural satellite, with a diameter of approximately 2,159 miles (3,474 kilometers). Its surface is marked by impact craters, large maria (dark plains), and rugged highlands. The Moon lacks a significant atmosphere, which exposes it to the harsh conditions of space.

Orbital Characteristics

Pluto's eccentric orbit takes it on a unique journey around the Sun. Its elliptical path leads it closer to the Sun than Neptune during part of its orbit. This unusual orbit and its location in the Kuiper Belt contribute to Pluto's extreme cold temperatures.

Our Moon, on the other hand, orbits Earth in a nearly circular path. Its gravitational pull on Earth creates tides and stabilizes our planet's axial tilt, contributing to Earth's climate and seasons.

Surface Features

Pluto's diverse surface features include the Sputnik Planitia, a vast icy plain named after the first artificial satellite. This region is home to a giant heart-shaped feature called the Tombaugh Regio, honoring Pluto's discoverer, Clyde Tombaugh.

The Moon features a multitude of impact craters, evidence of its history of asteroid collisions. Prominent features like the Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility) and the Tycho Crater showcase the Moon's geological past.

Exploration and Discoveries

Pluto remained a mystery until NASA's New Horizons spacecraft conducted a flyby in 2015. The mission unveiled Pluto's complex surface and discovered geologically active features like ice mountains and glaciers. These findings challenged previous assumptions about the distant dwarf planet.

Our Moon has been the subject of numerous space missions, including the Apollo program. Apollo astronauts collected samples, conducted experiments, and left a lasting human footprint on the lunar surface. These missions provided valuable insights into the Moon's formation and history.


In comparing Pluto and the Moon, we encounter two fascinating worlds with their own unique characteristics and stories. Pluto, a dwarf planet in the distant reaches of the solar system, challenges our understanding of icy worlds and their geology. Meanwhile, the Moon, Earth's constant companion, has played a vital role in shaping our planet's environment and history. As we continue to explore and study these celestial bodies, we unravel the mysteries of our solar system and gain a deeper appreciation for the vast wonders of space.

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