Pluto's frozen heart gives rise to planetary nitrogen winds

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According to a study in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Pluto's frozen heart of nitrogen ice may be the main driver of the dwarf planet's winds.

Pluto's heart shaped Tombaugh Regio is a vast structure made of nitrogen ice and its left lobe Sputnik Planitia contains 1,000 km of ice sheet within its 5 km basin.

During the day, a thin layer of the frozen nitrogen evaporates in relative heat; at night, the gas condenses and returns to icy form.

The sequence pumps nitrogen wind through Pluto's atmosphere like rhythmic heartbeats.

As nitrogen in Tombaugh Regio vaporizes in the north and freeze into ice in the south, the process triggers a westerly wind.

Citing the study's authors, Phys.org says this behavior is unique in the entire solar system with perhaps the exception of Neptune's moon Triton.

The study's other discovery is that Sputnik Planitia's high cliffs trap winds within the basin before releasing the strengthened currents to the west.

The atmospheric movement is similar to certain wind patterns on Earth, such as the Kuroshio in Eastern Asia.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Pluto's heart shaped Tombaugh Regio is a structure of frozen nitrogen
2. Nitrogen vaporization and condensation causes atmospheric movement
3. Tombaugh Regio's vaporizing north and condensing south creates westerly winds
4. Sputnik Planitia has wind patterns similar to Earth's Kuroshio

VOICEOVER (in English):
"According to a study in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Pluto's frozen heart of nitrogen ice may be the main driver of the dwarf planet's winds."

"Pluto's heart shaped Tombaugh Regio is a vast structure made of nitrogen ice and its left lobe Sputnik Planitia contains 1,000 km of ice sheet within its 5 km basin."

"During the day, a thin layer of the frozen nitrogen evaporates in relative heat; at night, the gas condenses and returns to icy form."

"The sequence pumps nitrogen wind through Pluto's atmosphere like rhythmic heartbeats."

"As nitrogen in Tombaugh Regio vaporizes in the north and freeze into ice in the south, the process triggers a westerly wind."

"Citing the study's authors, Phys.org says this behavior is unique in the entire solar system with perhaps the exception of Neptune's moon Triton."

"The study's other discovery is that Sputnik Planitia's high cliffs trap winds within the basin before releasing the strengthened currents to the west."

"The atmospheric movement is similar to certain wind patterns on Earth, such as the Kuroshio in Eastern Asia."

SOURCES: Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Phys.org
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2019JE006120
https://phys.org/news/2020-02-pluto-icy-heart.html