How is a double planet different from a planet and a satellite

(ORDO NEWS) — In astronomy, there is such a thing as a binary system of planets. But this is not the same as the planet and its satellite. So what is the difference between them?

From the point of view of science, a binary system of planets is two celestial bodies that are close to each other and that have the same mass.

However, scientists still have not identified clear criteria by which to distinguish between a binary system of planets (double planet) and a planet-moon (or planet-satellite) system.

How is a double planet different from a planet and a satellite 2

The most obvious difference between one and the other is the ratio of the masses of the two space objects. If it is close to unity, then these objects are similar in mass.

So, in the “Earth – Moon” system, this ratio is 0.01230, in the “Pluto – Charon” system – 0.122. Neither can be characterized as a binary system of planets.

Other criteria have been proposed to distinguish between these two concepts. For example, one of these criteria is the location of the “barycenter”, that is, the point around which two objects rotate.

According to this criterion, a double planetary system (double planet) is Pluto and Charon, while the Earth and Moon are not.

However, none of the criteria has been accepted by scientists as official.

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