Scott Kenyon, Harvard-Smithsonian

Topic: "Pluto Strikes Back" (Video)

ABSTRACT: In the last decade, HST observations have revealed 4 small satellites orbiting the binary planet Pluto-Charon. After describing the basic system architecture, I will discuss a plausible path from the giant impact which produced Pluto-Charon to the formation of small satellites orbiting the binary. This path leads to several clear predictions for the system which the New Horizons mission will test during its 2015 flyby. To conclude, I will describe how Pluto-Charon provides a nearby laboratory for investigating the formation of planets around binary stars.