Features On Pluto’s Largest Moon Charon Get Official Names

Posted: Apr 14 2018, 5:43am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 14 2018, 8:06am CDT, in Latest Science News


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Features on Pluto’s Moon Charon Get Official Names
Credit: International Astronomical Union

Some of the craters and other features on Charon now have official names, inspired by travelers, explorers and mysterious destinations

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has officially approved the naming of several geological features on the surface of Pluto’s moon Charon. The newly labeled features include craters, chasma, valleys and mountains and many of those names had been informally used during the recent mission. The names were proposed by the team from New Horizons – a spacecraft that made the first close-up exploration of Pluto and its moons in July 2015.

Charon is the largest moon of Pluto, which is almost half the size of its planet. The moon was discovered in 1978 and contains many prominent features on its surface. These features are similar to what we see on the surfaces of most other moons.

IAU, the internationally recognized authority for naming celestial bodies and their surface features, received recommendations from around the world as well as from New Horizons team, but they carefully selected the names of different features. The names honor many people and things that paved the way for the historic exploration of Pluto in the Kuiper Belt.

“I am pleased that the features on Charon have been named with international spirit.”Rita Schulz, chair of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature, said in a statement.

A crater on Charon is now identified as Dorothy, after the protagonist in the series of children's novels, by L. Frank Baum that follows Dorothy Gale's adventures in the magical world of Oz. Argo Chasma is named after the ship sailed by Jason and the Argonauts, in the epic Latin poem Argonautica. The feature is far longer and deeper than Arizona’s Grand Canyon. It has a total length of approximately 430 miles – almost two times the length and five times the depth of the Grand Canyon on Earth.

The full list of approved Charon surface feature names is listed here.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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