Things are not easy when it comes to space and astrophysics. Scientists are continually searching, learning, analyzing theories, and finding something new. But what happens when you know for sure something, and then something strange happens, and all the assumptions or patterns are breaking? The primary purpose of the study was the Solar System right now for scientists, but Neptune is messing around. Two of its moons are changing some patterns.
Neptune and its Moons
Neptune has two moons, Naiad and Thalassa. The satellites have 100 kilometers wide, and there are practically racing around Neptune. NASA is calling this phenomenon the dance of avoidance. Why is this strange? Because Naiad has its orbit inclined with five degrees beside Thalassa, half of it is above the other moon and half of it below.
Marina Brozovic, who works as a physicist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is saying that what is happening is a repeated pattern named resonance. Of course, patterns in space can exist at any planet, moons, or asteroids, but Neptune is unique with its two moons. The uniqueness is given by the two satellites that have perfect timing and choreography in their dance. 1.850 kilometers are separating them, and still, they are avoiding every time. Measured in hours, the total time of circling Neptune is by seven hours for Naiad, and seven and a half for Thalassa.
Moreover, what is more impressive, is the fact that looking from Thalassa, you will see Naiad repeating the same loop at every four circles above and below. Also, this pattern, even if it seems strange, is the one that is keeping the orbits stable. The information gathered about Naiad, and Thalassa dates from 1981 until 2016 with the help of telescopes Voyager 2 and Hubble. In all this time, the scientists discovered that Neptune has 14 satellites, and the two moons are coming from them.
Finally, Neptune has a bigger moon, Triton, and it’s believed that Naiad and Thalassa are coming from it. Also, the two satellites are maybe Triton leftovers, and they are made from water ice.
Carter Wetlaugher is just getting his start as a journalist. Carter attended a technical school while still in high school where he learned a variety of skills, from photography to coding. Apart from being a contributor to the site, Carter also helps Tech Life up and running, he also keeps our social media feeds up-to-date.