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See other posts from July 2007

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Yet another active world: Charon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

2007/07/18 05:14 CDT


I've just posted a news story on a recently published paper that suggests that Pluto's moon Charon may have active ice volcanoes. Not only that, but since Charon is spectrally relatively typical of intermediate-sized Kuiper Belt objects (ones that have diameters between about 800 and 1,500 kilometers), what's true of Charon may also be true of lots of other worlds out there in the distant reaches of the solar system. Check out the article!

While I was at it, I posted a new backgrounder on Eris (formerly known as 2003 UB313). It's part of an upcoming overhaul to the trans-Neptunian objects pages...

Charon, icy volcano world?

Pluto and Charon models (enhanced), courtesy of Software Bisque., with plumes and ice fields added by Mark C. Petersen, Loch Ness Productions. Star field from DigitalSky 2, courtesy Sky-Skan, Inc.

Charon, icy volcano world?
An artist's conception of Charon (with Pluto in the background) against the backdrop of the Milky Way. The plumes and brighter spots depicted at left on Charon are thought to be created as water (with some ammonia hydrate mixed in) "erupts" from deep beneath the surface. The material sprays out through cracks in the icy crust, immediately freezes and snows crystalline ice down onto the surface, creating a water-ammonia hydrate ice field.


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