Unusual Behaviour Of Pluto Moons Revealed

Unusual Behaviour Of Pluto Moons Revealed

Astronomers have described the strange behavior of Pluto and its five moons in a paper published on Wednesday.

NASA’s New Horizon spacecraft will visit Pluto this summer, giving scientists new insight into its behavior and composition. However images from the Hubble Space Telescope have already allowed scientists to calculate how bizarrely the moons of the dwarf planet behave, writes Kenneth Chang for The New York Times.

These Are John Buckingham’s Stock Picks For 2021

John Buckingham Stock PicksThe economy remains in distress, although there are signs of recovery underway. John Buckingham of Kovitz, editor of The Prudent Speculator newsletter, has found that value stocks typically outperform coming out of economic downturns. Thus, he argues that this is an excellent time to be a value investor. Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and Read More

Chaotic orbits in a strange system

The miniature planetary system formed by Pluto and its five moons is unique in the solar system. One moon is so large relative to Pluto that some scientists classify Pluto and Charon as a double planet, because of the fact that the center of mass of the two lies outside Pluto.

Two other moons, named Nix and Hydra, were first seen in 2005 thanks to images from Hubble. The moon Kerberos was discovered in 2011, while Styx was announced in 2012.

Now two scientists have calculated the orbits of the four smaller moons and produced some surprising results. Mark R. Showalter of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., and Douglas P. Hamilton of the University of Maryland published their article in Nature this Wednesday.

Especially intriguing is the effect of the competing gravitational pulls of Pluto and Charon on the moon Nix, which seems to have a chaotic orbit. “It’s not just a little bit chaotic,” Dr. Showalter said. “Nix can flip its entire pole. It could actually be possible to spend a day on Nix in which the sun rises in the east and sets in the north. It is almost random-looking in the way it rotates.”

It is also possible that Styx and Kerberos have chaotic orbits, but measurements are not good enough to say for sure. Hydra also boasts a chaotic orbit.

NASA spacecraft to provide further information

The conclusions are based on Hubble images take between 2005 and 2012. Astronomers are excited to see what NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft can tell them about Pluto and its moons when it reaches it on July 14.

Although the orbits of the moons are not exactly in resonance, Dr. Showalter believes that the fact that they are so close means that they were once in resonance.

However a different kind of resonance was discovered between Styx, Nix and Hydra. Two kinds of resonance cannot occur at the same time, and the researchers believe that the original 5-moon resonance fell apart before the 3 moons synchronized their orbits.

Previous article GoPro Inc Price Target Upped By JPMorgan, Piper Jaffray
Next article Managed Futures May Performance
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. <i>To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at [email protected]</i>

No posts to display