How did Pluto form?


Quick Answer

Pluto and its moon, Charon, came to be after a massive collision between two icy objects whose total mass was 30 percent larger than the current mass of Pluto, according to an article by Harvard���s Center for Astrophysics. Charon and Pluto were much closer to each other immediately after the incident, but Charon pulled away over a period of 1 to 10 million years.

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Full Answer

According to CFA, some theories imply that Pluto���s four other siblings Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydrawere also formed during the initial event and drifted away. However, simulations by CFA astronomer Scott Kenyon and a colleague demonstrated that Pluto and Charon possibly came into existence after particles amalgamated together in the disk around the sun, in the same way Earth was formed. A subsequent event left the bodies at their current sizes but kept them tied to each other by gravity as a binary pair.

The impact left a trail of debris that integrated in a circumbinary disk, the CFA astronomers add. With time, the four smaller siblings formed from accumulation of debris in the circumbinary disk. Pluto is a dwarf planet belonging to the Kuiper Belt, which comprises a group of bodies that revolve in a disk-like zone, according to NASA.

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