Astronomy magazine podcast: Icy Charon

Jason Cook explains how geysers made Pluto's largest moon an "ice machine."
By | Published: July 20, 2007 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
An artist’s conception shows Charon (with Pluto in the background) against the Milky Way. The plumes and brighter spots depicted on Charon are thought to be created as water (with some ammonia hydrate mixed in) “erupts” from deep beneath the surface. The material sprays out through cracks in the icy crust, immediately freezes, and snows crystalline ice down onto the surface, creating a water-ammonia hydrate ice field.
Software Bisque/Mark C. Petersen/Sky-Skan, Inc.
July 20, 2007
Frigid geysers spewing material up through cracks in the crust of Pluto’s companion Charon and recoating parts of its surface in ice crystals could be making this distant world into the equivalent of an outer solar system ice machine.

In this week’s show, team leader Jason Cool shares insight on what’s happening on Charon.

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