Space Telescope Science Institute
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Baltimore, Maryland 21218
Operated by AURA for NASA
Visualize the "quadruple planet" Pluto
For something quick, you can simply view any of these movies (generated from Celestia), which provide one helpful perspective on the entire system:
Pluto and it's moons Charon, Nix, and Hydra. These movies loop through 12 Pluto-Charon orbits, which because of the possible orbital resonances, is also roughly 6 orbits of Nix, and 4 orbits of Hydra, (so they all end up where they started):
When you use these movies, please credit: Max Mutchler and Greg Bacon (STScI).
orbits (4.8 MB),
- QuickTime (oblique):
small (2.4 MB),
large (19 MB),
huge (59 MB gzipped, video quality)
- QuickTime (top down, auto-looping):
small (2.7 MB),
large (20 MB),
huge (56 MB gzipped, video quality)
- AVI: orbital plane perspectives, where the
moons swoosh past, and
the view from P1
- New Horizon's
Jupiter encounter (1.2 MB MPEG) on 28 Feb 2007
To get any perspective of Pluto and it's moons that you might desire, download Celestia
and install this solarsys.ssc
file into your Celestia data folder. This file makes Pluto-Charon
truly barycentric, and adds the two newly discovered moons Nix (formerly S/2005 P2) and Hydra (formerly S/2005 P1),
with our best estimates of their orbits. Start Celestia, and
select "Solar System browser" under the Navigation menu.
Select and "go to" Pluto, Charon, Nix, or Hydra,
to get different perspectives on the entire system.
Try zooming in and out, and/or speeding up time
to see the orbital motions of the entire system.
Get more Celestia resources from
including the New Horizons and Hubble missions.