Hubble telescope discovers new moon orbiting Pluto

July 11, 2012 SPACEAstronomers have detected a new, fifth moon orbiting the dwarf planet Pluto, using images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. The irregularly shaped moon is between six and 16 miles across. It circles Pluto in a 30,000-mile-radius orbit, roughly an eighth of the distance at which our moon orbits Earth. Hubble spotted the moon, whose short designation is “P5,” with one of its wide-field cameras in nine images taken in late June and early July. The moon appears to lie in the same plane as the other four moons, which orbit in neat concentric circles that planetary astronomer Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute likened to Russian dolls. According to theory, the moons were formed billions of years ago when Pluto smashed into a large object in the Kuiper belt, a part of the outer solar system containing many small, icy objects. Hubble’s new find could provide scientists with more information to explain how Pluto and its moons formed. The largest moon of Pluto, Charon, was discovered in 1978 by the United States Naval Observatory station in Flagstaff, Arizona, back when Pluto was still called a planet. The next two moons, Nix and Hydra, weren’t discovered until 2006, using Hubble. The fourth moon, given the less sexy name P4, was discovered with Hubble in 2011. While Hubble provides only a distant glimpse of Pluto and its moons, NASA’s New Horizons space probe is currently speeding out to Pluto. The spacecraft should arrive in 2015, when it will take the first detailed photos of the icy dwarf planet system. The discovery of the fifth Pluto moon will help scientists prevent a collision that might destroy New Horizons, which will be zooming by at 30,000 mph. –Wired
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20 Responses to Hubble telescope discovers new moon orbiting Pluto

  1. ed says:

    Marvelous how Hubble can show images of galaxies 13 billion light years away but cannot get a decent image of Pluto and it’s moons in our own solar system or can they?

    Like

  2. Dennis E. says:

    How nice……We live in a solar system of change. Does this make pluto a planet now? Or is it a moon with a moon?

    Like

  3. Dee says:

    I’m a lot ignorant in this aspect I wish we could have another moon. Nothing wrong with ours but a second one will look cool. I really don’t understand this discoveries. How on earth they saw the other moons before but just saw this now?

    Like

    • Dennis E. says:

      Dee I don’t know about that. Our one moon has much influence on Tidal conditions on Earth. I think there would be a significant change in tidal conditions on earth.
      It would be cool though……………

      Like

  4. tonic says:

    Apparently there should be another large planet out there. No sighting of it so far, but a moon is seen orbiting Pluto.? How can they find a tiny moon, but miss a huge planet that explains why the Sun has an extra drag on it, that is still unknown.

    Like

    • JamesKin says:

      Tonic it is apparent to me you know the gig.
      They only tell you what THEY want you to know. It is well known as
      social engineering. And yes there is another planet and the Bible says so
      ,this is well known and THEY know it is there and you and I do too.
      The trick is on them. We are waking up, and to their demise.

      Like

  5. Some girl says:

    I knew they were trying to get us to forget pluto for a reason!

    Like

  6. Granny Bear says:

    Coincidentally (or not?) This poll, from Space.com, was in my inbox, today :
    Poll: Should Pluto Be a Dwarf Planet or Full-Fledged World?
    Should Pluto be classified as a dwarf planet or a full-fledged world?

    http://email.techmedianetwork.com/t?r=4&c=14510&l=108&ctl=57BC7:833C7773182A5B2F951F134EFB859E97&

    Like

    • Artoro says:

      Pluto will always be a planet. Earth is a dwarf in comparison to Jupiter. So if all the other planets were Jupiter sized and Earth was as it is, would Earth be a dwarf?

      Like

  7. Belinda says:

    Hmm, wonder why they have us looking in that direction?

    Like

  8. Preppin Pawpaw says:

    Alvin,
    Solarham.net is reporting :
    MAJOR SOLAR FLARE ALERT:
    A major solar flare greater than X1.0 is currently in progress. It is still growing …
    See more at the website for updates on this
    Thanks
    P.P.

    Like

  9. nanoduck says:

    Back in my day, they had nine planets….

    Like

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