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The chaotic spin of Pluto's moon Nix

The chaotic spin of Pluto's moon Nix


Date: 03 June 2015
Depicts: Pluto's moon Nix
Copyright: NASA, ESA, M. Showalter (SETI Inst.), G. Bacon (STScI)

This set of illustrations of Pluto's moon Nix shows how the orientation of the moon changes unpredictably as it orbits the Pluto-Charon system. This illustration is based on a computer simulation which calculated the chaotic movement of the four smaller moons in the Pluto-Charon system. Astronomers used this simulation to try and understand the unpredictable changes in reflected light from Nix as it orbits Pluto-Charon. They also found that Pluto's moon Hydra undergoes a chaotic spin as well. The football-shape of both moons contributes to their wild motion.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
27-Nov-2021 14:44 UT

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