The tech2 News teamNovember 18 2019 17:09:23 IST
The eighth planet in the solar system, Neptune, has 14 moons and they all revolve around the planet at their own pace. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) scientists have recently discovered that the two moons of the ice giant – Naiad and Thalassa – are locked in "avoidance dance."
Neptune's two satellites are fairly close together – at a distance of about 1850 kilometers. When they pass, they are separated by about 3540 kilometers.
Naiad moves much faster than Thalassa and dances around the other moon, trying to avoid a head-on collision. They do not collide with each other because Naiad's orbit is tilted by about 5 degrees. Naiad takes seven hours to make one turn around Neptune, while Thalassa performs it in seven and a half hours.
If you were to live on Thalas, you would see Naiad move zigzag, passing twice from above and then twice from below. Although scientists don't know how the two moons perfected this routine, they have several working theories.
The first possibility is that the original satellite system was disturbed when Neptune captured its giant moon Triton, which led to the formation of internal moons and rings of debris. [Neptunes has a total of six rings.]
"We suspect that Naiad was launched into his tilted orbit as a result of previous interaction with one of Neptune's other inner moons," said Marina Brozović, an expert in solar dynamics at JPL Press Release. "Only later, after determining the inclination of the orbit, Naiad could settle in this remarkable resonance with Thalassa."
"Naiad and Thalassa have probably been locked in this configuration for a long time because their orbits are more stable. They keep calm without getting too close. "- Mark Showalter, planetary astronomer at the SETI Institute and collaborator, the author of a new article said in Press Release.
Data collected in 1981–2016 from Hubble & # 39; a and NASA Voyager 2 (the only spacecraft that first visited Neptune on its way from the Solar System) and other space telescopes on Earth helped discover this amazing orbital pattern. The study also showed that the moons consist mainly of water ice.
The study and its results were published in diary ikar.
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