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Tags astronomy , New Horizons , pluto

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Old 15th July 2015, 09:58 PM   #201
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Image courtesy NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

As a layperson, the features on Charon that stand out:

The black eye (unoffically named Mordor) that dominates the upper hemisphere.

The differences in the upper and lower hemispheres -- bound by the linear feature that kind of traces maybe 20 S across most of this face.

The feature almost at the terminator to the right of and somewhat lower than the "Mordor" feature. Hopefully LORRI got a better orientation on whatever that is.
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Old 16th July 2015, 12:13 AM   #202
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
My first thought was a young surface, but it might be more likely that it's so far out there that there aren't many impactors.
There's an interesting idea. Because lots of internal heat seems really strange on a small icy body.

But is it plausible? There's plenty of potential impactors out there. Lumps of ice. And never any large planet to sweep them up.
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Old 16th July 2015, 12:59 AM   #203
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How much (if much at all) does Pluto's surface temperature change from its furthest point to its nearest point?

In other words, could it be a case of something defrosting when it's within Neptune. so smoothing the surface?
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Old 16th July 2015, 01:27 AM   #204
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Originally Posted by Craig B
Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
My first thought was a young surface, but it might be more likely that it's so far out there that there aren't many impactors.
There's an interesting idea. Because lots of internal heat seems really strange on a small icy body.

But is it plausible? There's plenty of potential impactors out there. Lumps of ice. And never any large planet to sweep them up.
NASA says there would be fewer impactors that far out, but there still aren't as many craters as expected. https://twitter.com/NASANewHorizons/...37916783484928

They also speculated a bit on why/how the surface could be so young: https://twitter.com/NASANewHorizons/...39947170578432.
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Old 16th July 2015, 01:59 AM   #205
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
There's an interesting idea. Because lots of internal heat seems really strange on a small icy body.

But is it plausible? There's plenty of potential impactors out there. Lumps of ice. And never any large planet to sweep them up.
Internal heat would be from the tidal friction created by Charon I expect.
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Old 16th July 2015, 02:00 AM   #206
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Originally Posted by grmcdorman View Post
The craters on Charon would tend to argue otherwise. See Phil Plait's post on the most recent images.
They're pretty few and far between on Charon too.
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Old 16th July 2015, 02:07 AM   #207
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
Internal heat would be from the tidal friction created by Charon I expect.
Phil Plait says, no.

The two bodies are tidally locked, lessening tidal friction. Otherwise you'd see the Earth heated up from the Moon. The current hypothesis is internal radioactivity. I take it that is very tentative, but we'll see.
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Old 16th July 2015, 02:30 AM   #208
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Phil Plait says, no.

The two bodies are tidally locked, lessening tidal friction. Otherwise you'd see the Earth heated up from the Moon. The current hypothesis is internal radioactivity. I take it that is very tentative, but we'll see.
The Earth isn't tidally locked to the Moon and is heated by it. However that heating is only a very small proportion of Earth's energy budget.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/heatflow.html
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Old 16th July 2015, 05:19 AM   #209
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Originally Posted by Southwind17 View Post
I'd like to see a model/animation that shows moons, the likes of Charon, emanating from a collision. Anybody?
Some people just want to watch the minor planets burn.
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Old 16th July 2015, 05:26 AM   #210
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It's too bad the pictures are all black and white. If they were in color, we might be able to see the difference between the desert areas and the forests.
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Old 16th July 2015, 05:30 AM   #211
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My guess is that there would not be much internal heat in Pluto as it is so much smaller than the moon. Any heat would be rapidly lost. I like the idea that the surface partially melts when Pluto gets nearer the sun.
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Old 16th July 2015, 06:09 AM   #212
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Heat could be generated a few ways.

First, never underestimate the power of collisions. Even small collisions, if there are enough, could generate significant heat.

Second, tidal friction with Uranus. Not a constant source, no, but maybe an occasional one?

Third, radioactive materials. I've heard speculation about that on various fronts. With a half-life of around 4 ga, some uranium isotopes would be going strong.

The difference between the northern and southern hemisphere of that moon is really very striking. Not just texture, but variability--the northern hemisphere appears more rugged, and has a greater number of light and dark spots than the southern.

Maybe the planets ricocheted off one another, and were captured in each other's gravity? I'm not up on my planetary collision physics, but I suspect that would be a poor explanation--anything slow enough to be captured would be a direct hit, not a glancing blow, and anything fast enough to be a glancing blow wouldn't allow for capture (or would completely liquify things).

Any sense of where Pluto is in relation to this moon? As presented, it seems we're supposed to accept Mordor as the northern pole relative to the plane of the orbits.
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Old 16th July 2015, 07:03 AM   #213
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Originally Posted by sts60 View Post
Charon is really interesting.
Absolutely!

Originally Posted by steve s View Post
http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/976/cps...6_84298655.jpg


11,000 foot peaks, and 150 miles without any impact craters. I can't wait for more photos to come in.


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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
My first thought was a young surface, but it might be more likely that it's so far out there that there aren't many impactors.
There should be sufficient KBOs to crater the surface more than is seen, much speculation about vulcanism and atmospheric weathering.

Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Just wild speculation, but could the system have originally been one body, which was hit by something? That's how our moon was likely formed. If that happened, say, 100 ma, it would account for the youthful surface. The re-solidification could also account for some of the weird features, like the hummocky features on the right-hand side of the high-res Pluto image and the hills (water volcanoes?).
Quite possibly, with residual heat allowing for vulcanism. Of course there's a lot of water ice on the surface too.
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Old 16th July 2015, 07:14 AM   #214
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Baffling in a very interesting and wonderful way
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Old 16th July 2015, 07:21 AM   #215
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
It's too bad the pictures are all black and white. If they were in color, we might be able to see the difference between the desert areas and the forests.
And maybe an Ewok village.
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Old 16th July 2015, 07:23 AM   #216
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Charon is sexy.
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Old 16th July 2015, 07:28 AM   #217
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Any sense of where Pluto is in relation to this moon? As presented, it seems we're supposed to accept Mordor as the northern pole relative to the plane of the orbits.
That's a good question.

New Horizons' trajectory generally followed the plane of the ecliptic (the plane containing the major planets). Pluto and Charon orbit about a barycenter with the plane of those orbits roughly perpendicular to the ecliptic -- with an ~133 axial tilt.

Following the the IAU nomenclature for dwarf planets and the right hand-rule, Charon's positive (a.k.a. North for big-boy planets) pole would be ~133 from the ecliptic -- roughly pointing toward the inner solar system.

I really don't know if how the LORRI instrument was oriented or if the image was corrected to reflect the plane of the solar system or the plane of the barycenter.
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Old 16th July 2015, 08:29 AM   #218
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
And maybe an Ewok village.


And there's bound to be Clangers there as well...
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Old 16th July 2015, 08:34 AM   #219
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Quite possibly, with residual heat allowing for vulcanism. Of course there's a lot of water ice on the surface too.
Fractional distillation may account for this as well. As the water-ice formed, the concentration of non-freezing chemicals would increase. If you put liquer in the freezer it'll form ice crystals (eventually). Scoop those out, and the remaining liquid is more alcoholic than the original. Same principle applies here; the question is, to what extent?
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Old 16th July 2015, 08:45 AM   #220
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A new higher resolution image:

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Old 16th July 2015, 08:48 AM   #221
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Actually, that would be more apt for Charon. You can clearly see the trench circling the 'moon' and the laser dish is up to the right.
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Old 16th July 2015, 08:52 AM   #222
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
That is no dwarf planet !
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Old 16th July 2015, 08:54 AM   #223
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
These comparisons of Pluto to the Death Star are insulting to Mimas.

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Old 16th July 2015, 08:57 AM   #224
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
These comparisons of Pluto to the Death Star are insulting to Mimas.

http://spacepictures.org/albums/user...oon_saturn.jpg
Two Death Stars?

At least?
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Old 16th July 2015, 08:59 AM   #225
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
These comparisons of Pluto to the Death Star are insulting to Mimas.

http://spacepictures.org/albums/user...oon_saturn.jpg
That's a decoy.
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Old 16th July 2015, 08:59 AM   #226
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
These comparisons of Pluto to the Death Star are insulting to Mimas.
And Iapetus.

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Old 16th July 2015, 09:41 AM   #227
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Originally Posted by sphenisc View Post
The Earth isn't tidally locked to the Moon and is heated by it. However that heating is only a very small proportion of Earth's energy budget.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/heatflow.html
I think you have a typo there and you said just what I said (except your typo).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_locking
Quote:
Tidal locking results in the Moon rotating about its axis in about the same time it takes to orbit Earth. Except for libration effects, this results in the Moon keeping the same face turned towards Earth
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Old 16th July 2015, 09:43 AM   #228
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
My guess is that there would not be much internal heat in Pluto as it is so much smaller than the moon. Any heat would be rapidly lost. I like the idea that the surface partially melts when Pluto gets nearer the sun.
That doesn't make sense. It doesn't get that close to the Sun.

The heating (if that's what's being observed is a mystery. Radioactivity is one hypothesis.
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Old 16th July 2015, 09:45 AM   #229
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I think you have a typo there and you said just what I said (except your typo).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_locking
No, I meant what I said. Tidal locking is not a symmetric relation.
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Old 16th July 2015, 09:45 AM   #230
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Originally Posted by Rincewind View Post
Two Death Stars?

At least?
Two fully armed and operational Death Stars!!!
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Old 16th July 2015, 09:57 AM   #231
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I think you have a typo there and you said just what I said (except your typo).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_locking
The moon is tidally locked to the earth. The earth is not tidally locked to the moon.

Steve S
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Old 16th July 2015, 10:17 AM   #232
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Originally Posted by Cylinder View Post
http://i57.tinypic.com/ngt7p4.jpg
Image courtesy NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

As a layperson, the features on Charon that stand out:

The black eye (unoffically named Mordor) that dominates the upper hemisphere.

The differences in the upper and lower hemispheres -- bound by the linear feature that kind of traces maybe 20 S across most of this face.

The feature almost at the terminator to the right of and somewhat lower than the "Mordor" feature. Hopefully LORRI got a better orientation on whatever that is.
The Black eye is quite obviously where Charon was hit with lightning. Charon is proof of the Electric Universe ...



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Old 16th July 2015, 10:27 AM   #233
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All hail Clyde Tombaugh!!!!

(I heard Clyde Tombaugh speak when I was an undergraduate)
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Old 16th July 2015, 10:49 AM   #234
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
That doesn't make sense. It doesn't get that close to the Sun.
Though in a vacuum, direct exposure to the sun, even at that distance, may be enough to turn a solid into a fluid, depending on the composition.
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Old 16th July 2015, 10:51 AM   #235
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Originally Posted by steve s View Post
The moon is tidally locked to the earth. The earth is not tidally locked to the moon.
Yet.
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Old 16th July 2015, 11:42 AM   #236
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Aside from deciding if Pluto is a planet or not, I don't think they've settled on how to pronounce "Charon", either. I believe the resident expert said it with a hard CH - like "Karon".
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Old 16th July 2015, 11:48 AM   #237
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Originally Posted by sphenisc View Post
No, I meant what I said. Tidal locking is not a symmetric relation.
Oh good grief!

Like that made a difference in the context of the issue at hand.

OK then, the Moon is tidally locked and you don't see significant heating.

It's one thing to clarify an issue, I like learning something as much as the next guy. But there was no reason to post like it was a pissing contest.
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Old 16th July 2015, 11:48 AM   #238
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
Aside from deciding if Pluto is a planet or not, I don't think they've settled on how to pronounce "Charon", either. I believe the resident expert said it with a hard CH - like "Karon".
I've heard "sharon", "charon", and "karon" and have no idea which is correct.
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Old 16th July 2015, 11:52 AM   #239
Skeptic Ginger
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Though in a vacuum, direct exposure to the sun, even at that distance, may be enough to turn a solid into a fluid, depending on the composition.
There are so many other icy bodies out there, wouldn't some of the others experience the same melting?

And Pluto rotates every 6 hours, making it harder for solar heating to build up.
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Old 16th July 2015, 11:54 AM   #240
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
Aside from deciding if Pluto is a planet or not, I don't think they've settled on how to pronounce "Charon", either. I believe the resident expert said it with a hard CH - like "Karon".
See http://www.wired.com/2015/07/really-...aron-probably/

Apparently the namer of Charon was not thinking of Greek mythology when he originally selected the name. So valid pronunciations seem to be:
  • "Gheghron" (ancient Greek, approximately, apparently)
  • "Share-on" (soft 'C' sound)

Not sure about "Karon" (hard 'C' sound), as the linked article doesn't seem to include that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Grundy (astronomer, New Horizons investigator
We all say it both ways in a single sentence.
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