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Space & Astronomy

New moon discovered around Neptune

By T.K. Randall
July 19, 2013 · Comment icon 22 comments



Image Credit: NASA
Archive images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope have revealed a previously undiscovered moon.
[!gad]The enigmatic object known as 'S/2004 N1' is the first new moon to be found around Neptune in over ten years. It was discovered by SETI's Mark Showalter who had been examining archive photographs of Neptune to study segments of its rings. The technique involved stacking together multiple short exposure images to help see the rings in more detail.

"I got nice pictures of the arcs, which was my main purpose, but I also got this little extra dot that I was not expecting to see," he said. The new moon is particularly perplexing because it is so small that it is incredible that it managed to survive the formation of Neptune's other moons. "The Neptune moons we see today were probably broken up and regenerated after the arrival of Triton," Showalter added.
Neptune has a new moon, and its existence is an enigma. The object, known for now as S/2004 N1, is the first Neptunian moon to be found in a decade. Its diminutive size raises questions as to how it survived the chaos thought to have created the giant planet's other moons.


Source: New Scientist | Comments (22)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #13 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
I got this in an email today. Not pertaining to neptune, but interesting. So why post it in a thread about Neptune? May be worth posting. It is, which is why there is already a thread about it: Snow in an Infant Planetary System Something I don't think I can do. http://www.laborator...680011&type=cta You don't think you can post it despite the fact that you posted it. That has me more than a little puzzled.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Ryu 9 years ago
It is amazing that bit by bit our knowledge of our solar system is being slowly rewritten as we discover more. THIS is what I like seeing our resources channeled towards. Discovering things, not more wars.
Comment icon #15 Posted by paperdyer 9 years ago
Waspie - I meant posting the story as a thread. I know I can post a link. Like the Neptune thread.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
Waspie - I meant posting the story as a thread. I know I can post a link. Like the Neptune thread. You should be able to do that, but nor whilst you are in another topic. Simply go to the relevant forum and towards the top of the page there should be a black button that says "Start new topic". Then post exactly as you would in an existing topic. The only real difference is that you have to fill in the topic title.
Comment icon #17 Posted by NatureBoff 9 years ago
S/2004 N 1 is at about twice the distance from Neptune that it rings are, so is not a shepherding moon. it is quite close to being in orbital resonances with its neighboring moons, Larissa and Proteus. Have you heard the phrase "gravitational kick" before in reference to shepherding moons? If so, can you please explain it to me please.
Comment icon #18 Posted by coolguy 9 years ago
Very cool find. The Hubble is the greatest thing ever made
Comment icon #19 Posted by Merc14 9 years ago
It is amazing that bit by bit our knowledge of our solar system is being slowly rewritten as we discover more. THIS is what I like seeing our resources channeled towards. Discovering things, not more wars. It is truly amazing what our probes, that so many have complained about since they aren't manned, are baring so much fruit. Personally, as a man born in the 50's, I am in awe of the discoveries we have made with the incredible instruments NASA has put into space. If the Webb makes it, it will change everything. I guarantee that. Hubble is amazing and the rescue mission was an absolute heroic... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by AlienDan 9 years ago
Found a better pic of it: That's no moon...
Comment icon #21 Posted by Silver Surfer 9 years ago
Very cool find. The Hubble is the greatest thing ever made Totally Agree... Check out this doco if you haven't and see how it was very nearly a huge disaster! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzuwiYDwkms
Comment icon #22 Posted by bison 9 years ago
Have you heard the phrase "gravitational kick" before in reference to shepherding moons? If so, can you please explain it to me please. The linked article briefly explains the concept, in the context of the Saturn system. Most of this is applicable to shepherding moons in general. In brief, momentum is conserved. It can be transferred from a shepherding moon to ring particles, or to another nearby shepherding moon, when they pass each other in their orbits. http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/display.cfm?News_ID=3451


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