PerspectivePlanetary Science

Charon's First Detailed Spectra Hold Many Surprises

Science  07 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5450, pp. 53-54
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5450.53

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The first detailed spectra of Pluto's satellite Charon confirm the presence of HO frost. No CHor Nis seen, although both are abundant on nearby Pluto. The state of the HO ice is crystalline, not amorphous, a surprise given Charon's expected cold surface temperatures. NHmay also be present, which would make Charon the first satellite in the solar system with a positive NH-frost detection.