There’s a chaotic dance going on at the far end of our solar system, involving Pluto and five of its closest friends, a new study finds.
Hubble Space Telescope images of Pluto, its largest moon Charon, and tinier moons Styx, Nix, Hydra and Kerberos show the odd rhythmic gyrations of the six distant objects in a dance unlike anything in our solar system.
What makes it so odd is that there’s a double set of dances going on. First, Pluto and Charon are locked together in their own waltz “as if they are a dumbbell” with a rod connecting them, said study author Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute in California. It’s the solar system’s only binary planet system, even though Charon isn’t technically a planet, he said. Pluto, too, is no longer considered a full planet.
“It’s pretty darn weird,” Showalter said.
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Source Credits: Seth Borenstein in Associated Press