News of the WeekPlanetary Science

Telling Pluto and Its Partner Apart

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Science  30 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5428, pp. 649-650
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5428.649a

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Astronomers at Japan's Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, have added another compound, ethane, to the list of organic molecules detected on the solar system's coldest planet. The Subaru observations, released last week, also confirm that Pluto and its satellite Charon have very different compositions, suggesting that Charon formed in a tremendous interplanetary collision.