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Video: The unusual rotation of Pluto's moon, Nix

This animation contrasts the regular motion of Earth’s Moon with the highly variable rotation of Pluto’s moon, Nix. On the left is a view of the Moon, as seen from Earth, over the course of about three months. Our view of the Moon always sees the same side, but with changes of its phase and size while it orbits. On the right is a simulation of the oblong-shaped Nix. While it also shows changes in phase, it rotates and tilts in an unpredictable manner. Note that the surface of Nix has not yet been observed, and an artistic representation has been used in the animation.

Video: The Unusual Rotation of Pluto's Moon Nix

Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Showalter (SETI Institute), USNO, and G. Bacon and F. Summers (STScI)

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