Subscribe
Subscribe
MY AMERICAN SCIENTIST
LOG IN! REGISTER!
SEARCH
 
Logo IMG
HOME > MULTIMEDIA > Multimedia Detail

SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY

Pluto's Moons Offer Hints of Alien Worlds

from ScienceNOW Daily News

Planet or not, Pluto and its newest moons may tell us a lot about how other worlds orbit distant stars. A new computer simulation based on the motions of Pluto's satellites not only zeroes in on the masses of two of the moons but predicts that planets orbiting double stars are more widely spaced from one another than are the worlds of single stars such as the sun.

Once thought to be a lonely outpost at the solar system's edge, Pluto now has four known moons. The first, discovered in 1978 and named Charon, is half Pluto's size. The Hubble Space Telescope spotted two more, Nix and Hydra, in 2005, orbiting beyond Charon, then another in 2011. In mythology, Pluto was the god of the underworld, so the names of the satellites reflect the same dark theme: Charon ferried souls of the dead across the River Styx; Nix was the goddess of night; and Hydra was a nine-headed monster who lived in a lake near an underworld entrance.

Now astronomers Andrew Youdin, Kaitlin Kratter, and Scott Kenyon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have analyzed Pluto's newest moon, which does not yet have a permanent name. It's the smallest of the bunch and moves between the orbits of Nix and Hydra.

Read more...


comments powered by Disqus
 

Connect With Us:

Facebook Icon Sm Twitter Icon Google+ Icon Pinterest Icon RSS Feed Instagram Icon

Latest Multimedia

Flooded Sign

PODCAST & VIDEO: Engineering Around Extreme Events

Extreme events, such as super floods and hurricanes, are becoming more common, so civil engineers are trying to adapt civil infrastructure such as bridges to these unpredictable and sometimes devastating meteorological events. Engineer Ana Barros discusses how engineering can prepare us for extreme weather events, but also how changing climate and population conditions can affect the ability of infrastructure to hold up over time.

To view all multimedia content, click "Latest Multimedia."



RSS Feed Subscription

Receive notification when new content is posted from the entire website, or choose from the customized feeds available.


EMAIL TO A FRIEND :

Of Possible Interest

Science in the News Weekly: NASA May Inherit Ex-Spy Telescope

Science In The News Daily: Some Newfound Planets Are Something Else

Science In The News Daily: Venus Starts Its Rare Sun Transit

Subscribe to American Scientist