Schematic of the Pluto system

The new HST/ACS observations made on March 2nd reveal that all three of Pluto's satellites are neutrally colored, unlike reddish Pluto itself. Pluto's reddish colour is believed to be due to reddening agents created by the effects of sunlight acting on its nitrogen and methane surface ices. Charon's surface is known to consist primarily of water ice; the similar colour of P1 and P2 may indicate they too have water ice surfaces. The colour similarity of Pluto's two small satellites to one another and to Charon is consistent with their all having been born as a result of a single giant impact, as previously indicated by their orbits and Charon's large mass.


NASA, ESA, A. Stern (SwRI) and Z. Levay (STScI)

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Release date:10 March 2006, 15:00
Size:800 x 600 px

About the Object

Name:Charon, Pluto
Type:Solar System : Planet : Satellite
Solar System : Interplanetary Body : Dwarf planet
Category:Solar System

Image Formats

Large JPEG
68.3 KB
Screensize JPEG
70.2 KB


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