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Pluto’s mysterious ‘beating heart’ controls the planet’s winds

There is a debate in the scientific community over whether Pluto should be a planet again. But a new study affirms that the dwarf planet’s “beating heart” is impacting its atmospheric circulation patterns. The research notes that the heart-shaped structure, known as Tombaugh Regio, is in charge of the wind patterns on the dwarf planet. Much of it comes from the left part of the structure (known as Sputnik Planitia), which causes nitrogen winds to blow. Nitrogen is the majority of Pluto’s atmosphere, combined with carbon monoxide and methane. During the day, the nitrogen ice warms and turns into vapor, but by night, it condenses and reforms as ice. “This highlights the fact that Pluto’s atmosphere and winds – even if the ...