Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Jelly Bean and Dancing Raisin?

Yup! That's one way to describe these two moons of Pluto, as Nix and Hydra come into focus. Can you tell the jelly bean from the dancing raisin?

Picture Credit: NASA/JHAPL/SWRI

Both moons were discovered when New Horizon Scientists used the Hubble Space Telescope to search for a clear path so the spacecraft to flyby the dwarf planet. 

The overall color of jelly bean Nix is grey; however it has a reddish region with a hint of a bullseye. This color has been enhanced to show the red spot. The New Horizon's ralph instrument photographed this moon from 102,000 miles away.

Although the science team sees the state of Michigan in Hydra, I see a dancing raisin from this LORRI image which was photographed from 143,000 miles. Two craters can be seen and one region has a different coloring. Hydra is 34 miles by 25 miles.

We will find out more about Kerberos and Stix by mid-October, so stay tuned.

Here is an artisitic representation for size:

Picture Credit: NASA/ESA/ A. Field (STSci)

I also want to add the orbits because I am just learning them:

And here is the orbital pattern of Pluto and Charon:
Image: Lanthanum 138 at en.wikipedia

I do have a powerpoint that is all about the Pluto System, which gets updated as new information comes in. If you want to know more about it, click here to see an earlier blog post.
If you click on the picture above, it will take you to my tpt store.

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