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Pluto-Charon system, composite image

Pluto-Charon system, composite image

C025/3226

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Credit

EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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This image may not be used by or to promote the arms, nuclear power or tobacco industries or any religious organisation, or in any discriminatory way, or to imply the endorsement by ESO of any product, service or activity.

Caption

Pluto-Charon system. Composite infrared image of the dwarf planet Pluto (round, upper centre) with its largest moon Charon (round, lower centre) and two stars (right and lower left). Pluto has five known moons: Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. Charon is a very rare large moon in comparison to its parent planet and the Pluto-Charon system is sometimes described as a binary system because the barycentre (centre of mass) of their orbits does not lie within either of them. Imaged by the NACO adaptive optics camera on the Yepun telescope of the European Space Observatory's (ESO's) Very Large Telescope, Paranal observatory. Because of the system's motion, the two occulted stars appear as dotted trails.

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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