Friday, June 5, 2015

Unstable Space Spuds

There is a small, potato-shaped moon (16.8 mi. x 35.5 mi.) called "Nix", orbiting, rotating around little Pluto. 

Way, way out there in the dim reaches of our solar system, Nix orbits Pluto in a bizarre way, thanks to it's 3 orbital, gravitational axes:   (do click, & watch, it's amazing)

Observations made with the Hubble Space Telescope suggest the dwarf planet's four smallest moons -- Nix, Hydra, Kerberos and Styx -- wobble in their orbits and tumble unpredictably as they make their way around Pluto and its largest moon, Charon.

"If you stood on Nix, the sun might rise in the west and set in the east one day, and rise in the east and set in the north n another," said Mark Showalter, a senior research scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. "And if you bought real estate in the north pole, you might discover one day that you are now in the south pole."

Far short of imagining living on this heavenly body, wouldn't it be just so cool if this moon
instead orbited Earth?  What a nightly show Nix would be~!  Better than TV~!

Other potato-shaped moons, with similarly odd orbits are Hyperion, orbiting Saturn, and Hausflies, orbiting Uranus.

have a good weekend, everyone~!

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