A Day on Pluto and Charon | Images by NASA
A full day on Pluto looks like
Charon, also called Pluto I, is the largest and innermost moon of Pluto and is nearly 1/8 the mass of Pluto.It orbits a common centre of gravity with Pluto, and the two worlds are tidally locked together as they orbit.
It was discovered in 1978 by astronomer James Christy at the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., using photographic plates taken at the United States Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station (NOFS).
It is a very large moon in comparison to its parent body, being half the diameter and one eighth the mass of Pluto. Its gravitational influence is such that the barycenter of the Pluto–Charon system lies outside Pluto.
One day on the dwarf planet takes 6.4 Earth days, and its largest moon Charon also does a full rotation in the same amount of time.
This week,NASA released collages showing the full rotations of Pluto and Charon, providing a multi-faced view of the planetary system.
It is indeed amazing that prior to July, Pluto and Charon were little more than a pair of low res blobs hanging out on the edge of the Solar System. Now they’re a dynamic system with canyons, craters, ice volcanoes and patterned plains — a system we’re going to keep learning about for months to come as we slowly downlink all the New Horizons data.
Images are now being transmitted from the probe back to Earth, where this series shows how one full day on Pluto is supposed to look like. The pictures of Charon’s full rotation revealed that the rotation speeds of Pluto and its moon are similar.
full day on Pluto looks like