Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Pluto's emitting X-rays, and NASA doesn't quite know how

The best words in science: 'That's odd'

Pluto, visible and X-ray

The Chandra space telescope has spotted X-rays emanating from Pluto.

That's “cold, dead, former planet Pluto with no magnetic field”, to most of us: orbiting between 4.4 billion km and 7.4 billion km from the sun out in the Kuiper belt, with no way to generate heat. That Pluto.

Since we don't suppose the former-planet got chemtrail drops during the New Horizons flyby in 2015, some other process has to be at work.

Chandra made four observations of Pluto before and during New Horizons' flyby, in case comparing its measurements to science from New Horizons gave them something to chew over.

The mission scientists are now chewing like crazy. As Johns Hopkins astrophysicist Carey Lisse, who led the Chandra team, put it: “Pluto is interacting with the solar wind in an unexpected and energetic fashion”.

Lisse, who also holds the laurel for discovering X-rays emanating from comets, says the solar wind's charged particles are probably the source of the necessary energy.

However, as NASA says in this media release, there's somewhat more X-ray activity than scientists expected.

“Although Pluto is releasing enough gas from its atmosphere to make the observed X-rays, in simple models for the intensity of the solar wind at the distance of Pluto, there isn't enough solar wind flowing directly at Pluto to make them,” the statement says.

Continue Reading at ......  http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/09/20/plutos_emitting_xrays_and_nasa_doesnt_quite_know_how/