Neptune has a total of 14 satellites, according tomedia BGR, and there are some interesting patterns about how all these tiny worlds can coexist and avoid collisions. NASA highlighted a relationship in a new post. Neptune satellites Naiad and Thalassa travel near very similar orbits, just about 1,150 miles apart. From a planetary point of view, this is quite close, so why don’t the two satellites cause each other trouble? The short answer is the way they “dance”.
Although the two satellites are relatively close to each other, their different orbits put each other more than 2,200 miles apart. That’s because Naiad, which is running faster, is locked into a fluctuating motion to ensure that the two satellites never “meet each other.” Regardless of the number of times the two satellites completed the orbits of their host planets, their patterns remainthed, and Thalassa orbited smoothly, with Naiad’s orbit jagged, above or below the orbit of the sister satellite.
“We call this repetitive pattern resonance,” explains Marina Brozovi? of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Planets, satellites and asteroids can follow many different types of ‘dances’, but never seen anything like it. Brozovi? is the lead author of a new paper describing the discovery.
The exact source of this unique pattern is unclear, but researchers have some guesses. Most likely, Naiad collided with another Neptune satellite long ago. This may have derailed it from its previous course and forced it into a tilted orbit.