Charon Facts

Charon is the innermost and the largest moon of all five moons of the dwarf planet Pluto. It was discovered in June 1978 by James Christy and Robert Harrington at the U.S. Naval Observatory.

This moon is tidally locked with Pluto as it orbits Pluto in the same time it takes Pluto to make one rotation. Pluto and Charon orbit a common center of gravity located just above Pluto’s surface. It is called a barycentre.

Quick Facts: –

  • Charon is the largest known satellite relative to its parent body as it is half the size of Pluto.
  • They are located at a distance of approximately 19,640 kilometers.
  • Unlike other moons of Pluto, Hydra and Nix, Charon is not oblong shaped.
  • This moon was initially named S/1978 P 1, which indicates the year of its discovery and the fact it was the first object observed around Pluto.
  • Pluto and Charon both have never been visited by any spacecraft. They have been just observed by the Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories.
  • Unlike Pluto’s surface, this moon is believed to be covered in frozen water.
  • The dark region on the north pole of this moon is called Mordor.
  • This moon is also home to ice geysers and ice volcanoes which confirm its ice based geology.
  • In a way similar to Uranus, the Pluto-Charon system also orbits the Sun tipped on its edge.
  • A periodic slight elongation was observed which was later confirmed using plates dating back to 1965.