Charon’s turn

Moons have feelings too you know!

NASA gives you, Charon:

Remarkable new details of Pluto’s largest moon Charon are revealed in this image from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), taken late on July 13, 2015 from a distance of 289,000 miles  (466,000 kilometers).

A swath of cliffs and troughs stretches about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) from left to right, suggesting widespread fracturing of Charon’s crust, likely a result of internal processes. At upper right, along the moon’s curving edge, is a canyon estimated to be 4 to 6 miles (7 to 9 kilometers) deep.


Mission scientists are surprised by the apparent lack of craters on Charon. South of the moon’s equator, at the bottom of this image, terrain is lit by the slanting rays of the sun, creating shadows that make it easier to distinguish topography. Even here, however, relatively few craters are visible, indicating a relatively young surface that has been reshaped by geologic activity.

What’s more, this is only the compressed version of the image. They’ll get the uncompressed one later.

The image has been compressed to reduce its file size for transmission to Earth. In high-contrast areas of the image, features as small as 3 miles (5 kilometers) across can be seen. Some lower-contrast detail is obscured by the compression of the image, which may make some areas appear smoother than they really are. The uncompressed version still resides in New Horizons’ computer memory and is scheduled to be transmitted at a later date.

Thanks, NASA.


  1. says

    @John Morales #2 – Ah. I had heard that the IAU was going to define satellite as having its barycenter within the crust of another world, but didn’t realize the debate was still on-going after nine years.

  2. Trebuchet says

    Yeah, but is it Sharon or Karon? (I know the answer. I’m being facetious.)

    I just go with chair-on.

    That “canyon” on the right is clearly the edge of a plug that can be unscrewed for access to the interior.

  3. =8)-DX says

    #6 @Trebuchet

    the edge of a plug that can be unscrewed

    And they’d do that by drilling… unscrewed by screwing? My mind is astronomically blown.

  4. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    That “canyon” on the right is clearly the edge of a plug that can be unscrewed for access to the interior.

    USB moon?

    How many gigs?

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