Hubble telescope spots Pluto's moons wobbling in 'chaos'

NASA has released a series of images created based on data from the Hubble Space Telescope, and upon first glance they appear to show dinosaur egg-like oblong objects — those objects are, however, Pluto's moons Hydra and Nix, and according to the space agency they are "tumbling in absolute chaos". Such a conclusion was made after analyzing the data from Hubble, which reveals that the two moons wobble about rather than have any set steady course. You can see the "chaos" for yourself in a series of illustrations NASA has released.

The illustrations are shown below, and are computer models based on the Hubble data created to show how the moon Nix in particular has a drastically changing orientation. Says NASA, the sunrise would never be predictable if you happened to live on one of these moons. Both moons, it seems, suffer from this chaotic wobble.

The moons aren't to blame for this issue, though. Says the space agency, the gravitational fields in which they're embedded are constantly shifting and the moons are at their mercy. The shifts themselves are caused by the double planet arrangement that Pluto and Charon have, with the common center of gravity shared between them ultimately being the cause.

It doesn't help that the moons are oblong-shaped, giving them a sort of football-like construction that further amplifies the wobbly effects. A pair of Pluto's other moons, Styx and Kerberos, are also thought to be suffering from this tumbling motion. The researchers who made the discovery plan to detail it in a full report in Nature tomorrow.