Max Mutchler

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NASA STScI

Space Telescope Science Institute
3700 San Martin Drive
Baltimore, Maryland 21218
Operated by AURA for NASA

mutchler@stsci.edu
410-338-1321

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).

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 Seldon and Motherlode, including the New Horizons and Hubble missions.