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PLUTO’S MOON PROTECTS ITS ATMOSPHERE




In our solar system, Pluto has one of the most unusual interactions with its moon, Charon. Charon is located just 12000 miles away from Pluto! Further, it is more than half of Pluto’s diameter. Simply visualize our moon as large as Mars, and thrice closer to Earth!

A recent study at the Georgia Institute of Technology, on the relationship between Pluto and Charon has been published in the journal Icarus, in a special Pluto issue. It reveals how this relationship influences the continuous stripping of the planet’s atmosphere by solar wind. When Charon is positioned between Pluto and the sun, a significant reduction in the atmospheric loss is experienced.

Charon always does not have its own atmosphere. But when it does, it makes a shield for Pluto which redirects most of the Solar wind away and around. When Charon is bereft of its atmosphere, or when it is next to or behind Pluto, it has only a small influence on the Pluto- Solar wind interaction. 

The researchers say that the Pluto system offers perspectives about the origin as Pluto has not been subjected to the same temperature extremities like the objects close to the sun.

Content Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170109162342.htm

Image Source: https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/cracks-in-plutos-moon-could-indicate-it-once-had-an-underground-ocean/


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