Pluto Augmented

At APotD I saw this interesting news: Pluto has a fifth moon!

A fifth moon has been discovered orbiting Pluto. The moon was discovered earlier this month in images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in preparation for the New Horizons mission’s scheduled flyby of Pluto in 2015. Pictured above, the moon is currently seen as only a small blip that moves around the dwarf planet as the entire system slowly orbits the Sun. The moon, given a temporary designation of S/2012 (134340) 1 or just P5 (as labeled), is estimated to span about 15 kilometers and is likely composed mostly of water-ice. Pluto remains the only famous Solar System body never visited by a human-built probe and so its origins and detailed appearance remain mostly unknown.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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12 Responses to Pluto Augmented

  1. NoraLee9 says:

    15 K? That’s infinitissimal. Wow.

  2. Tim Ferguson says:

    wow, that’s so far out and insignificant, I suggest that it be called “Matthew Fox”

  3. David Zampino says:

    In three more years, the New Horizons probe will finally reach Pluto! I’m looking forward to those photographs!

    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/index.html

  4. Acanthaster says:

    “Pluto remains the only famous Solar System body never visited by a human-built probe…”

    Have NON-human-built probes been there?! Hmmmm. My bet is on the dolphins…clever little mammals they are.

  5. Rob in Maine says:

    Acanthaster, the Gamalons have a base there.
    (Obscure animie reference).

  6. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Rob in Maine — That’s not obscure to some of us! (Star Blazers – great show.)

    Well, at least they’re calling poor Pluto a “dwarf planet” these days.

  7. traditionalorganist says:

    It’s funny how everyone always forgets about the other dwarf planet…Ceres, which is much closer to home. Though, I am very excited about the new horizons imagery too. It will be amazing to see pictures of something so far away.

  8. Athelstan says:

    It’s funny how everyone always forgets about the other dwarf planet…Ceres, which is much closer to home. Though, I am very excited about the new horizons imagery too. It will be amazing to see pictures of something so far away.

    Actually, both dwarf planets will soon be visited by NASA probes.

    Ceres will be visited by the Dawn Probe, currently making its way through the Asteroid Belt, in 2015. A few months after that, Pluto will be visited by New Horizons. As for the rest of the dwarf planets…they’re a little far out to be on any mission planner’s (or at least budget director’s) radar scope for the time being. At least NASA can still do deep space robotic probes, at any rate.

    Voyager 1 was originally supposed to do a Pluto flyby, but it ended up diverted to Titan instead.

  9. tzard says:

    Here’s a picture as seen from hubble: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/new-pluto-moon.html as well as some more analysis.

  10. Supertradmum says:

    Dolphins, goodbye and thanks for all the fish? I want Pluto to be a planet again.

  11. Mariana says:

    Supertradmum,

    So do I. And I don’t think the answer to everything is 42 : ) .

  12. John Fannon says:

    Do any British readers remember the late great Michael Wharton and his ‘Peter Simple’ Column which ran in the Daily Telegraph for over 50 years?

    Although the column was luddite in outlook , it did have its own space programme and its pride and joy was the ‘columnar space craft’ called Don Carlos and the Holy Alliance III.

    It was claimed that this spacecraft, motoring around the solar system had discovered the satellites of Pluto. There, on those delightful little worlds, a hereditary caste of noblemen spend their leisure hunting, fishing and, in the evenings, in their commodious hunting lodges, discuss such questions as the possibility of life, improbably near the sun, on our own unimaginably distant Earth.

    See Andrew Cusack who has compiled many of the Peter Simple articles.

    Michael Wharton – requiescas in pace.