Plutoís fifth moon discovered
2012-07-13 0:00

By Alan Boyle | CosmicLog

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered Plutoís fifth moon, a little more than three years before a NASA space probe is due to sail past the dwarf planet and its tribe of satellites.


This photo from the Hubble Space Telescope shows Pluto and its five known moons, including a newly discovered satellite indicated as P5. Its provisional name is S/2012 (134340) 1. M. Showalter / SETI Institute / NASA / ESA


The irregular moon, estimated to be 6 to 15 miles (10 to 25 kilometers) across, was found in the course of checking out the potential collision hazards facing NASAís New Horizons spacecraft for the Bastille Day flyby on July 14, 2015. "The inventory of the Pluto system weíre taking now with Hubble will help the New Horizons team design a safer trajectory for the spacecraft," the missionís principal investigator, Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute, said in a Hubble news release.

Stern and his colleagues suspect this fifth moon wonít be the stuff they find in Plutoís neighborhood. "The discovery of so many small moons indirectly tells us that there must be lots of small particles lurking unseen in the Pluto system," said Harold Weaver of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Call it P5 ... for now
The fifth moon is currently known only by its provisional names: S/2012 (134340) 1, or P5 for short. Itíll be up to the discoverers to propose a more lyrical name to the International Astronomical Union, which classified Pluto as a dwarf planet in 2006.

P5 was detected in 14 separate sets of images taken by Hubbleís Wide Field Camera 3 on June 26, 27 and 29 plus July 7 and 9. The Hubble team says itís in a 58,000-mile-diameter circular orbit around Pluto that steers clear of the dwarf planetís four other satellites ó including the biggest moon, Charon. Two other moons, Nix and Hydra, were discovered in 2006, and the fourth moon (P4) was found in Hubble data last year.

"The moons form a series of neatly nested orbits, a bit like Russian dolls," team leader Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute said in todayís news release.


[...]


Read the full article at: msnbc.msn.com






Video from: YouTube.com




Related Articles
Plutoís Expanding Atmosphere Confounds Researchers
Hubble shows Pluto "turning red" - Planet X?


Latest News from our Front Page

IRS Drops Attack For Six Years ‚Äď No Evidence of Jurisdiction
2015-04-24 20:29
A big congrats to a friend I‚Äôve been working with for several years, he stood up to the predators commonly called the ‚ÄúIRS‚ÄĚ and they dropped their attack. Thanks also for providing me with the proof below. The criminals called the ‚ÄúIRS‚ÄĚ initiated an attack claiming my friend was required to file six tax returns, or explain how he made ...
Into Eternity - Finland's 100,000 Year Massive Underground Spent Nuclear Fuel Program
2015-04-24 20:49
Into Eternity is a documentary about a deep geological repository for nuclear waste. The concept of long-term underground storage for radioactive waste has been explored since the 1950s. The inner part of the Russian doll-like storage canisters is to be composed of copper. Hence in the case of Onkalo it is tightly linked to experiments on copper corrosion in running ...
SPLC Accuses Oath Keepers of Inciting ‚ÄúArmed Confrontation‚ÄĚ Over Sugar Pine Mine
2015-04-24 20:22
The Southern Poverty Law Center has accused Oath Keepers of inciting an armed confrontation with BLM authorities over the Sugar Pine Mine dispute in Oregon, despite the fact that the organization has explicitly stated that it is not promoting armed confrontation with the feds. In an article provocatively posted on the organization‚Äôs ‚ÄėHatewatch‚Äô section entitled Oath Keepers Descend Upon Oregon with ...
PayPal Asserts Copyright Ownership Over All Intellectual Property of its Users
2015-04-24 19:59
In an alarming new update to its user agreement released this week, PayPal has announced that it will assert copyright ownership over all intellectual property of anyone who uses its payment services. The update comes in the aftermath of the announcement that eBay and PayPal will split apart into two separate companies. Under the heading ‚ÄúIntellectual Property,‚ÄĚ PayPal announces that it is ...
Straight pride fliers removed from YSU campus
2015-04-24 19:41
Leaders with the Student Government Association at Youngstown State University said they decided to act quickly this week when posters showed up on campus promoting ‚ÄúStraight Pride‚ÄĚ week next month. The posters contained profanity, which our station has blurred for viewers. The posters promote the event as a way of not showing the differences between students. Campus leaders said while they believe ...
More News »