New Moon Discovered Around Neptune in Old Hubble Images
By Nadia Drake | wired.com
Our blue and gassy outer planet Neptune hosted 13 known moons until today. Now, there are 14.
The new moon, known as S/2004 N1, is so small and faint that it escaped detection by NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, which flew by Neptune in 1989.
Just 12 miles across, the moon orbits outside the planet’s ring system, carving a rut into space about 65,400 miles away from the ice giant. But S/2004 N1 is a little speed demon: It completes its 372,000-mile orbital journey in just 23 hours.
“This is a moon that never sits still long enough to get its picture taken,” said the SETI Institute’s ace moon-finder Mark Showalter, who discovered the moon while studying long-exposure, archival images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. It’s one of a half-dozen moons Showalter has found, including Mab and Cupid around Uranus, Saturn’s shepherd moon Pan, and the two tiniest of Pluto’s moons, newly named Kerberos and Styx.
Does finding moons ever get boring? Nope. “It’s a rush,” Showalter said.
Showalter first spied something that could have been a new Neptunian moon on July 1. He’d been studying the planet’s rings, and thought to look a bit farther out. “There was this little dot sitting there,” he said. “It looked like it could be a moon.”
Because S/2004 N1 is so dim, Showalter needed some time to confirm the moon’s presence. After aligning and combining about 15 sets of Hubble images taken between 2004 and 2009, he determined that the dot was, in fact, a moon. Roughly 150 images helped him plot the satellite’s orbit. “You can’t see it in the individual images, but when you combine images, it turns up,” he said. “It turns up very consistently.”
Now, he says, he’d like to apply the same technique to long-exposure images of the other outer planets, and see if there might be more dim satellites playing hide-and-seek.
Read the full article at: www.wired.com
Latest News from our Front Page
Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North.
The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night.
A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked.
The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough.
Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield.
Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants
Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July.
The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are.
London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race.
Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event.
|More News » |