MessageToEagle.com - A team of astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a
fifth moon orbiting the icy dwarf planet Pluto.
Pluto’s new-found moon, visible as a speck of light in Hubble images, is estimated to be irregular in shape and
between 10 and 25 kilometres across.
It is in a 95 000 kilometre-diameter circular orbit around Pluto that is
assumed to lie in the same plane as Pluto’s other known moons.
“The moons form a series of neatly nested orbits, a bit like Russian dolls,” said Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute
in Mountain View, USA, leader of the scientific team that discovered the new moon.
The Pluto team is intrigued that such a small planet can have such a complex collection of satellites.
The new discovery provides additional clues for unraveling how the Pluto system formed and evolved.
The favoured theory is that all the moons are relics of a collision between Pluto and another large Kuiper belt
object billions of years ago.
Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, was discovered in 1978. Hubble observations in 2006 uncovered two additional small
moons, Nix and Hydra.
In 2011 another moon, known as P4, was found in Hubble data.
Click on image to enlarge
Hubble finds fifth moon orbiting Pluto (labelled). Image credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI Institute)
Provisionally designated S/2012 (134340) 1, or P5, the latest moon was detected in nine separate sets of images taken
by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 on 26, 27 and 29 June, and 7 and 9 July 2012.
New Horizons, a NASA space probe, is currently en route to Pluto, with a high-speed flyby scheduled for 2015.
It will return the first ever detailed images of the Pluto system, which is so small and distant that even Hubble
can barely see the largest features on its surface.
Click on image to enlarge
Hubble finds fifth moon orbiting Pluto (unlabelled). Image credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI Institute)
In the years following the New Horizons Pluto flyby, astronomers plan to use the infrared vision of Hubble’s planned
successor, the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope, for follow-up observations.
The James Webb Space Telescope will be able to study the surface chemistry of Pluto, its moons, and many other
bodies that lie in the distant Kuiper Belt along with Pluto.
Camelopardalis - Red Giant Is Nearing The End Of Its Life
Camelopardalis, or U Cam for short, is a star nearing the end of its life.
As it begins to run low on fuel, it is becoming unstable.
Every few thousand years, it coughs out a nearly spherical shell of gas as a layer of helium around its core begins to fuse.
Still A Mystery: Are Baffling Clap Sounds Related To Aurora Borealis?
These strange sounds from aurora borealis have been reported by wilderness wanderers and other individuals but no connection has ever been proven.
For the first time, researchers at Aalto University in Finland have located where the sounds
associated with the northern lights are created.
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Data from the experiment can be used to upgrade fire detection and suppression equipment on Earth and Space.
Unusual Stools Defy Gravity
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These remarkable stools have one thing in common, they defy gravity.
How is it possible?