The chaotic spin of Pluto’s moon Nix

This set of illustrations of Pluto’s moon Nix shows how the orientation of the moon changes unpredictably as it orbits the Pluto-Charon system. This illustration is based on a computer simulation which calculated the chaotic movement of the four smaller moons in the Pluto-Charon system. Astronomers used this simulation to try and understand the unpredictable changes in reflected light from Nix as it orbits Pluto-Charon. They also found that Pluto’s moon Hydra undergoes a chaotic spin as well. The football-shape of both moons contributes to their wild motion.


NASA, ESA, M. Showalter (SETI Inst.), G. Bacon (STScI)

About the Image

Release date:3 June 2015, 19:00
Related releases:heic1512
Size:3000 x 2178 px

About the Object

Type:Solar System : Interplanetary Body : Dwarf planet
Category:Solar System

Image Formats

Large JPEG
615.8 KB
Screensize JPEG
117.6 KB


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