Hubble spies 5th moon around Pluto

2012-07-11 22:24
The green circle marks the newly discovered moon, designated S/2012 (134340) 1, or P5, as photographed by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 on 7 July 2012. (AFP PHOTO / NASA / ESA)

The green circle marks the newly discovered moon, designated S/2012 (134340) 1, or P5, as photographed by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 on 7 July 2012. (AFP PHOTO / NASA / ESA) (Esa)

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Los Angeles - There's something lurking around distant and icy dwarf planet Pluto: a fifth moon.

A team of scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope said on Wednesday they have discovered the tiniest moon yet around Pluto. That brings the number of known moons to five.

The mini-moon is estimated to be up to 24km across, smaller than the one that scientists spotted last year, which is up to 34km wide. Pluto's largest moon, Charon, is about 1 000km across.

Until the newly found moon gets a name, it will be known as P5.

A Nasa spacecraft named New Horizons will arrive at Pluto in 2015. When New Horizons launched in 2006, Pluto was a full-fledged planet, but astronomers have since demoted it to dwarf planet.

- AP
Read more on:    nasa  |  us  |  space  |  astronomy
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