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Is Pluto a Binary Planet?

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    Last Updated: July 16, 2012


    astroengine writes “If the Pluto-Charon system were viewed in a similar way to binary stars and binary asteroids, Pluto would become a Pluto-Charon binary planet. After all, Charon is 12% the mass of Pluto, causing the duo to orbit a barycenter that is located above Pluto’s surface. Sadly, in the IAU’s haste to define what a planet is in 2006, they missed a golden opportunity to define the planetary binary. Interestingly, if Pluto was a binary planet, last week’s discovery of a fifth Plutonian moon would have in fact been the binary’s fourth moon to be discovered by Hubble — under the binary definition, Charon wouldn’t be classified as a moon at all.”

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