Wikijunior:Solar System/Pluto/Charon

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Charon as seen by the New Horizons spacecraft.

Charon is one of the three moons of Pluto.

How big is Charon?[edit | edit source]

Charon measures about 1,200 km across, about half the diameter of Pluto. Because the size difference between Pluto and Charon is so small, they are sometimes considered to be double planets. They are also sometimes thought of as the first two trans-Neptunian objects.

What is its surface like?[edit | edit source]

This picture taken by the Hubble Space Telescope shows Pluto and Charon. The small moon on the right is Charon. We can't see it in detail without probes because it is too far away.

The surface of Charon is covered in water ice.

How long is a day on Charon?[edit | edit source]

One day on Charon is equal to 6 days, 9 hours, and 18 minutes on Earth.

How long is its orbit with Pluto?[edit | edit source]

Charon and Pluto share an orbit around a point that is directly between them, this orbit takes roughly six and a half days

Who is it named after?[edit | edit source]

Charon is named after a figure in Greek mythology. Charon ferried the dead across the river Acheron to Hades if they could pay him.

How was it discovered?[edit | edit source]

Charon was discovered by James Christy on June 22, 1978. He was examining highly magnified images of Pluto and noticed a small bulge sometimes appeared in the pictures. The bulge was later confirmed in older images and was given the temporary name of S/1978 P 1.