NASA’s Hubble telescope discovers new Neptune moon

NASA’s Voyager spacecraft failed to spot the tiny moon during its 1989 fly-pass of the giant gaseous planet.
July 16, 2013 SPACE - The Hubble space telescope has discovered a new moon orbiting Neptune, NASA has confirmed. Designated S/2004 N 1, this is the 14th known moon to circle the giant planet. It also appears to be the smallest moon in the Neptunian system, measuring just 20 km (12 miles) across, completing one revolution around Neptune every 23 hours. U.S. astronomer Mark Showalter spotted the tiny dot while studying segments of rings around Neptune. NASA said the moon was roughly 100 million times dimmer than the faintest star visible to the naked eye. It is so small that the Voyager spacecraft failed to spot it in 1989 when it passed close by Neptune and surveyed the planet’s system of moons and rings. Mr. Showalter’s method of discovery involved tracking the movement of a white fleck appearing over and over again in more than 150 photographs taken of Neptune by Hubble between 2004 and 2009. “The moons and arcs orbit very quickly, so we had to devise a way to follow their motion in order to bring out the details of the system,” Mr. Showalter explained. “It’s the same reason a sports photographer tracks a running athlete – the athlete stays in focus, but the background blurs.” –CNN
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6 Responses to NASA’s Hubble telescope discovers new Neptune moon

  1. Mike says:

    Who’s to say that that moon was even there during Voyager’s fly-by? Planets have been known to pick up and discard satellites of that size all the time.

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  2. Steven J. says:

    So, what is the significance of this story in relation to what’s happening in these “End of Days”?

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    • E
      Rings of debris within Solar System

      The medium is the message. We live in the middle of massive debris fields and if we can’t locate a moon, around a planet…how can we possibly locate every object that could one day potentially threaten Earth?

      FYI: Earth is a dot in the center of at least 3 massive concentric debris rings inside the Solar System. This doesn’t include the threat of dark comets, which have very low albedo ratios and are virtually invisible because they reflect almost no light. They can virtually strike Earth anytime with little or no warning.

      http://www.foxnews.com/story/2009/02/13/dark-comets-could-hit-earth-without-warning/

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  3. Only one question comes to mind, ‘Was it there in 1989??’ Circumnavigating orbit of 23 hours, indicates that Voyager’s ‘days of approach,’ would have made visual, or instrumental contact with that moon at some point in approach or departure. Hmmm, therefore the question …. Pilot to Navigator, ARE WE THERE YET?? a thought.

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  4. Wilhelm says:

    It gladdens my heart that this little moon is finally getting the recognition and respect that has been so long overdue!

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  5. kennycjr says:

    hopefully it won’t be demoted to dwarf moon. ;o)

    Like

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