Pluto’s rocking and rolling dancing moons

Most of the moons in our solar system, even Earth’s own moon, rotate on their axis as they orbit their planet. This is also the reason we see the same side of the moon every time.

However, a new study has discovered that Nix and Hydra, two of Pluto’s Moons, move around Pluto chaotically. This results in them having no dark side. This essentially means that an observer on Pluto would get to see all the faces of Pluto’s moons.

According to Dr. Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California: “Prior to the Hubble observations, nobody appreciated the intricate dynamics of the Pluto system. Our research provides important new constraints on the sequence of events that led to the formation of the system,”

While Nyx and Hydra seem chaotic, they seem to be locked in resonance. This means that a ratio exists for their orbital periods. This was according to Dr. Showalter and Dr. Doug Hamilton from the University of Maryland at College Park

Dr. Hamilton said that “If you were sitting on Nix, you would see that Styx orbits Pluto twice for every three orbits made by Hydra.”

The scientists hope to discover more from the satellite orbiting Pluto through more observations.

Image: http://static01.nyt.com/

Source: http://www.sci-news.com/astronomy/science-chaotic-rotation-plutos-small-moons-02873.html

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