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Evidence found for geysers on Charon
Posted: Fri, Jul 20, 2007, 7:25 AM ET (1125 GMT)
Pluto-Charon illustration (Germini Obs.) Astronomers announced this week that they have found evidence for geysers of water ice on Pluto's large moon Charon. Spectra taken of Charon using the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii detected patches of water ice crystals and ammonia hydrates on the moon's surface. These deposits are likely created by geysers of water ice, mixed with ammonia, erupting on the surface. the ice is believed to be relatively fresh since it is still in crystalline form; older water ice deposits would become amorphous over tens of thousands of years because of solar radiation. The geysers are believed to be powered by liquid water deep in the moon's interior, heated by internal radioactivity, and mixed with ammonia to remain liquid at colder temperatures. Such cryovolcanism has been seen on a number of other icy bodies in the outer solar system.
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