Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Charon

Charon (left) and Pluto
I saw this picture and I thought it was a pretty good view of Pluto and Charon, but given that these things are flying around in the sky, one could be much farther away than the other and so the distance between them could appear to be much smaller than it is. I couldn't find anything about the relative location of the three elements (Pluto, Charon and the camera), so I did a little checking.

Distance from Pluto to Charon: 18,500 km
Diameter of Pluto:    2,400 km
Diameter of Charon: 1,200 km
Center to center distance on screen: 4.25"
Diameter of Pluto on screen:            0.5"

The on screen distance is 8.5 times the diameter of Pluto. The real distance is 7.7 times the diameter of Pluto, so I would say this photo does a pretty good job of showing the relative sizes of and distances between Pluto and Charon. They must be both about the same distance from the camera.

This photo was taken several days ago. Since then the probe has gotten so close to Pluto that it can no longer get both critters in the same frame.

Orbits of Pluto's moons. Pretty cool that they were able to put together this image that shows all five of the critters.

Artist's concept of Pluto's Moons showing their relative sizes. Tiny little Charon is a giant among dwarfs. We don't really know what the little ones look like, we just know they are not spherical. They might be egg-shaped but more likely they are potato-lumpy.

New Horizons Space Probe with Pluto, Charon and the Sun.

I was pronouncing Charon 'Chairon', in my mind anyway, I don't think I ever actually said it, but it's supposed by pronounce Sharon, like in Charlotte.