The Origin of Pluto As an Escaped Satellite of Neptune
Dr. Bob Malcuit (Geosciences), Dr. Steve Doty and Dr. Ronald Winters (Physics and Astronomy) will present a Denison Scientific Association (DSA) Seminar on “A new approach to an old (1936) suggestion for the origin of Pluto as an escaped satellite of Neptune”.
Below is an abstract of the seminar:
Raymond Lyttleton (Univ. of Cambridge astronomer) in 1936, just 6 years after the discovery of Pluto, suggested in an article in the MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY that Pluto may be an escaped satellite of planet Neptune. An additional complication for any such explanation (a complication that was added in 1978) is the presence of Pluto’s large retrograde satellite, Charon. We have developed a model for the origin of Pluto as an escaped satellite of Neptune in which Charon is formed during a very close gravitational encounter between a captured retrograde satellite of Neptune (i.e., Triton) and an original prograde satellite of Neptune (i.e., proto-Pluto). Eventually we will be doing a series of 5-body numerical simulations of this celestial maneuver.