Pluto With 5 Moons

Posted July 12, 2012 by User 1


It wasn't all that long ago when scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope discovered a fourth moon on Pluto. Now, less than one year later, a fifth moon has showed up. Provisionally named S/2012 P 1, the moon is less than 25 km in diameter and orbits ~42000 km from Pluto making it the second closest known moon to Pluto.

The New Horizons spacecraft is expected to arrive at the Pluto system in 2015. The discovery of yet another moon adds the possibility of Pluto harboring a dense debris field that could be hazardous to the spacecraft upon arrival. There is an excellent possibility that more moons will be discovered in the years ahead as this once-planet, now dwarf planet, attracts increasing attention as a subject of research.

The complete list of Pluto's moons is now:

1. Charon (1978)
2. Hydra (2005)
3. Nix (2005)
4. S/2011 P 1 (2011)
5. S/2012 P 2 (2012) - the latest discovery

...likely with more to come in the years ahead!

Read NASA's announcement...
Pluto's moons on Wikipedia...


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