TV News LIES

Tuesday, Jul 07th

Last update07:20:35 PM GMT

You are here News Science Scientists spot Pluto's fourth moon

Scientists spot Pluto's fourth moon

Pluto's fourth moon foundAstronomers looking for rings around Pluto have instead made an unexpected find: a fourth moon circling the dwarf planet.

The object, temporarily designated P4, is probably the most dwarvish of Pluto's moons: It's estimated to be just 8 to 21 miles (13 to 34 kilometers) in diameter. In comparison, Pluto's diameter is about 1,400 miles, and its other three moons range in diameter from 648 miles (for Charon) to between 20 and 70 miles (for Nix and Hydra, discovered in 2005). The newfound moon orbits in a region between Nix and Hydra, and makes a complete circuit roughly every 31 Earth days.

P4 was detected in June, during a round of Hubble Space Telescope observations aimed at looking for rings or other potential hazards for NASA's New Horizons probe, which is due to zoom through the Pluto system in 2015. Alan Stern, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Regional Institute who heads the $700 million New Horizons mission, told me in an email that the discovery was a testament to the dwarf planet's continuing ability to surprise.

"Pluto's satellite system is truly knocking our socks off with surprises — it's magnificently complex, and getting more crowded all the time. I can't wait till we get there to see what other surprises this planet and its moons have in store for us!" he said.

The find is also a testament to Hubble's amazing vision. The object was spotted on June 28 using the space telescope's Wide Field Camera 3, and its existence was confirmed through follow-up observations this month as well as a search through archived imagery. The moon was not spotted in earlier imagery because the exposure times were shorter.

More...


Most Recent Related Stories...


Russian craft delivers long-awaited cargo to space station

Space station gets s uppliesAn unmanned Russian cargo ship has docked successfully at the International Space Station, where it was...

Falcon 9 'suffers anomaly,' fails to reach ISS

Falcon 9 fails againSpaceX's reusable rocket, the Falcon 9, on Sunday suffered its third failed, fiery attempt to launch...

Solar plane smashes solo flight record over Pacific

Solar planeAn aircraft attempting to circumnavigate the globe powered only by the sun's energy has broken a...

Comet lander Philae wakes up after seven-month hibernation

Comet lander PhilaePhilae, the Rosetta mission's lander on Comet 67P, awakened and communicated with the European Space Agency...
 
America's # 1 Enemy
Tee Shirt
& Help Support TvNewsLIES.org!
TVNL Tee Shirt
 
TVNL TOTE BAG
Conserve our Planet
& Help Support TvNewsLIES.org!
 
Get your 9/11 & Media
Deception Dollars
& Help Support TvNewsLIES.org!
 
The Loaded Deck
The First & the Best!
The Media & Bush Admin Exposed!