Overview: Pluto's surface

Amazing Space—Overview of Tales of…Pluto's changing surface
of "Tales of … Pluto's changing surface"
Tales of … Pluto's changing surface explains how scientists have used technology to map Pluto's surface. Images taken years apart reveal the changes taking place as summer begins in Pluto's northern hemisphere. These images of Pluto will help astronomers plan for the fly-by of NASA's New Horizons probe.
Format(s) available: Printer-friendly web page
Grades: 8-12, but the material can be adapted for use in other grades at the teacher's discretion.
How to use it in the classroom

Teachers can use Tales of … Pluto's changing surface as:

A content reading selection. Teachers should discuss the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary prior to having students read this selection.

An engagement activity. Have students read the selection. Ask them to describe the technologies that led astronomers to this new discovery.

An inquiry tool. Propose a question, such as "What role did technology play in allowing astronomers to identify the changes in Pluto's surface?" Have students read the selection and write down as many questions as they can about the information in the text.

A source of information. Students can describe how technology has enabled this astronomical research.

Related materials

The Star Witness news: New Moons for Pluto!

The Star Witness news:
New Horizons: A Pluto-bound Spacecraft Gets a Boost From Jupiter

HubbleSite press release:
"New Hubble Maps of Pluto Show Surface Changes"

HubbleSite press release:
"Hubble Reveals Surface of Pluto for First Time"

See the Solar system section on "Teaching tools" page.

Overview: Pluto's surface