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Fifth moon of Pluto discovered

Posted on Saturday, 14 July, 2012 | Comment icon 28 comments | News tip by: Waspie_Dwarf

Image credit: NASA

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered a new moon orbiting Pluto.

Known as 'P5', the small moon is only between 6 and 15 miles across and has been found just one year after Pluto's fourth moon. The discovery has helped boost intrigue in the icy world and its moons ahead of the arrival of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft which is due to reach Pluto in 2015 after a trip that will have taken nine years.

"We're finding more and more, so our concern about hazards is going up," said Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder. "Every new satellite is a debris producer."

"The discovery of another moon around Pluto is exciting news for planetary science, but it's also likely causing some anxiety for the team in charge of New Horizons, a spacecraft set to be the first probe ever to visit the dwarf planet."

  View: Full article |  Source: MSNBC

  Discuss: View comments (28)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #19 Posted by csspwns on 15 July, 2012, 0:56
tat moon is small enough to be an asteroid
Comment icon #20 Posted by Device on 15 July, 2012, 3:05
Old Pluto and all it's little moons eh? The little dark-horse of the solar system. Good on it, lol.
Comment icon #21 Posted by Ryegrog on 15 July, 2012, 23:29
Since Pluto is no longer considered the 9th planet in our solar system because of it's size, Does that mean a Chihuahua is no longer a dog because it's smaller then a Great Dane or other dog breeds bigger then it? LOL
Comment icon #22 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 16 July, 2012, 0:00
Pluto has not lost it's planetary status because of it's size. It lost it because it All the true planets dominate their orbits. They have swept clear, or captured as satellites, almost all the material that shared their orbit. Pluto has not done this, it is just one Kuiper Belt Object amongst thousands. If it had cleared it's orbit it would still be a planet as it fulfills the other requirements. The IAU definitions of a planet and a dwarf planet are as follows: Source:
Comment icon #23 Posted by Kludge808 on 16 July, 2012, 9:22
Errr ... Phobos & Deimos? While they may well be captured asteroids, they still are Mars' moons.
Comment icon #24 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 16 July, 2012, 9:57
And your point is? I didn't mention Mars. Mercury & Venus still have no natural satellites. My point still remains valid.
Comment icon #25 Posted by Ryegrog on 16 July, 2012, 16:18
That is one factor why Pluto is no longer considered a traditional planet but size did play a roll.
Comment icon #26 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 16 July, 2012, 19:25
Wrong, Pluto is not classified a dwarf planet on size. The small size of Pluto and the fact that objects as massive were being discovered lead to the debate about Pluto's status but in the agreed definitions of planet and dwarf planet Pluto's size was not a factor in it being downgraded. From YOUR link: As can be clearly seen, Pluto only fails to be defined on the third point. On the second point, which is size dependant, Pluto passes. To repeat what I said earlier, if Pluto orbited alone, instead of part of a belt consisting of many objects, it would pass all thre criteria and be a... [More]
Comment icon #27 Posted by Kludge808 on 20 July, 2012, 10:48
Errr ... ummm ... my point is I can't read? Sorry.

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