Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 351 (6279), aae0030

The Small Satellites of Pluto as Observed by New Horizons

Affiliations

The Small Satellites of Pluto as Observed by New Horizons

H A Weaver et al. Science.

Abstract

The New Horizons mission has provided resolved measurements of Pluto's moons Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. All four are small, with equivalent spherical diameters of ~40 kilometers for Nix and Hydra and ~10 kilometers for Styx and Kerberos. They are also highly elongated, with maximum to minimum axis ratios of ~2. All four moons have high albedos (~50 to 90%) suggestive of a water-ice surface composition. Crater densities on Nix and Hydra imply surface ages of at least 4 billion years. The small moons rotate much faster than synchronous, with rotational poles clustered nearly orthogonal to the common pole directions of Pluto and Charon. These results reinforce the hypothesis that the small moons formed in the aftermath of a collision that produced the Pluto-Charon binary.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 1 PubMed Central articles

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback