Neptune’s Moons Have Quite the Orbits; Here’s More About Naiad and Thalassa

Researchers from NASA found out that a sole orbiting pattern by the two innermost moons of Neptune allows them never to meet and collide. It was said to be the dance of avoidance.

The unique orbit of the moons was never seen before, according to the lead author of the paper.

There are a lot of different types of dances that planets, asteroids, and moons can do, but this particular type has never been seen before. As you probably know, Neptune has 14 confirmed moons, and the most recent one was discovered in 2013, and it was named Hippocamp. The most distant one is Neso, which orbits the planet, and it takes 27 years so complete.

Naiad and Thalassa, the two innermost moons are very small, and they’re rather oblate, and not spheroid. They orbit the planet every seven hours. They are also close to each other – they orbit at about 1850km apart (that’s the distance between Finland and the UK). This is the average distance of their orbits, but they don’t get that close to each other. This happens because of a tilt in Naiad’s orbit, which somehow synchronizes with Thalassa’s orbit.

If someone were to sit on Thalassa, he or she would see Naiad orbiting in zigzag, passing twice from above and twice from below. This pattern is called resonance.

Dr. Mark Showalter, an astronomer at the SETI Institue, who is also the co-author of the paper, stated that they are always excited to see the co-dependencies that take place between two different moons.

Both Thalassa and Naiad were put together in this pattern a very long time ago, thing that makes their orbits even more stable. They never get too close, so everyone’s at peace.

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