Pluto and its underworld minions

Early this week the spacecraft New Horizons began its flyby of Pluto, sending a wealth of information to back to Earth about Pluto and its moons. It’s an exciting time for astronomers and those
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Early this week, the spacecraft New Horizons began its flyby of Pluto, sending a wealth of information back to Earth about Pluto and its moons. It’s an exciting time for astronomers and those intrigued by the dark dwarf planet. Pluto has special significance not only because it is the only planet in our solar system to have its status as a planet stripped and downgraded to a dwarf planet, but also because along with its largest satellite Charon, it is our solar system’s only binary planet system. In addition to Charon, Pluto has four additional satellites that have intriguing characteristics. Three of these—Styx, Nix, and Hydra—are in what astronomers call an orbital resonance, which means their orbits are related by a ratio of two whole numbers, making the orbits predictable and relatively stable. However, at least Nix and Hydra have an elongated shape and feel the gravity of both Pluto and Charon, such that their motion is extremely complicated. Astronomers refer to this as chaotic. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Linguistics

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