Tonight's Sky
Sun
Sun
Moon
Moon
Mercury
Mercury
Venus
Venus
Mars
Mars
Jupiter
Jupiter
Saturn
Saturn

Tonight's Sky — Change location

OR

Searching...

Tonight's Sky — Select location

Tonight's Sky — Enter coordinates

° '
° '

Making double planets

Explore the formation of Pluto's Charon and Earth's Moon with computer simulations.
How do astronomers explore events that occurred billions of years ago, involved energies we can hardly imagine, and transformed a portion of a planet into molten rock?

The best way to date is through detailed computer simulations. Astronomers encode the rules of physics into a model that includes characteristics of a planet's composition, such as rock or ice; the effects of gravity; the sizes, speed, and masses of planet and impactor; and many other parameters. Then they set up the collision and watch what happens.

Already a subscriber? Register now!

Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on Astronomy.com, please log in below.
ADVERTISEMENT

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Receive news, sky-event information, observing tips, and more from Astronomy's weekly email newsletter.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
BoxProductcovernov

Click here to receive a FREE e-Guide exclusively from Astronomy magazine.

Find us on Facebook

Loading...