The Curiosity rover, which is designed to explore Mars, has found an ancient oasis on Mars. Researchers working with the Curiosity rover have found salt-enriched…
The largest moon of Pluto Charon was discovered 40 years ago on June 22 1987 by James Christy and Robert Harrington at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. It is one of the Pluto’s five moons.
“Even if Pluto wasn’t there, Charon would have been a great flyby target by itself,” said Will Grundy, a New Horizons science team co-investigator from Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. “It’s a far more exciting world than we imagined.”
Today we introduce you top 10 facts about the largest moon of Pluto, that may be useful for you.
- The New Horizons spacecraft is the only probe that has visited the Pluto system. It approached Charon to within 27,000 km (17,000 mi) in 2015.
- The name of the moon Christy suggested on June 24 with the honor of his wife. He suggested the name Charon as a scientific-sounding version of his wife Charlene’s nickname, “Char”. “I added an ‘-on’ to it and said I could name it Charon.”
- The original name of the largest moon had been “S/1978 P 1”.
- In 1978 Christy noticed something “a small bump on one side of Pluto”. Further examination showed the bump seemed to move around Pluto, cycling back and forth over Pluto’s own rotation period – 6.39 days. In the 48 years that had passed since Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto at Lowell Observatory in 1930, no evidence of any moon of Pluto had ever been spotted.
- 40 years after his significant discovery, Jim Christy holds two of the telescope images. A close-up photo of Charon, taken by the New Horizons spacecraft during its July 2015 flyby, is displayed on his computer screen.
- About the size of Texas, Charon is the largest moon in the solar system relative to its parent planet.
- Pluto and Charon were the first known double planet or two bodies that orbit a common center of gravity.
- Charon’s diameter is 1,212 kilometers (753 mi), just over half that of Pluto, and larger than the dwarf planet Ceres.
- Unlike Pluto’s surface, which is composed of nitrogen and methane ices, Charon’s surface appears to be dominated by the less water ice.
- The International Astronomical Union (IAU) indicates that Charon is considered to be just a satellite of Pluto, but the idea that Charon might be classified a dwarf planet in its own right may be considered at a later date.
Source: NASA, Wikipedia