Thursday, October 27, 2011

The space telescope "Hubble" discovered the fourth moon of Pluto

The Hubble Space Telescope accidentally discovered a new moon around Pluto while making observations in search of rings in the dwarf planet.

With an estimated diameter of 13 to 34 kilometers, the new satellite , to be temporarily known as P4 , is the smallest of the four moons discovered around Pluto so far.

Charon is the largest, with 1043 kilometers in diameter, while Nix and Hydra are in the range from 32 to 113 kilometers.

The director of the monitoring program Hubble , Professor Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute in Mountain View (California) said in a statement that the houses of Hubble has allowed astronomers to see "clearly" an object so small from a distance of more than 5 million miles.

The finding is the result of ongoing work to support the issuance of the probe "New Horizons", which NASA launched in 2006 and is scheduled to reach the Pluto system in 2015.

Pluto is one of the bodies of the solar system more difficult to photograph because of its remoteness and its small size and, although no longer the ninth planet in the Solar System in August 2006 to enter into this new category of dwarf planet, has continued to focus the attention of scientists and astronomers.

The principal investigator of the "New Horizons", Alan Stern of Southwest Research Institute in Boulder (Colorado), noted that this finding is "fantastic" because they can plan observations near s for study during the flyby that will probe in 2015.

New moon

The new moon is between the orbits of Nix and Hydra, which were also discovered by Hubble in 2005, Charon was detected in 1978 in the United States Naval Observatory, but it was Hubble who discovered in 1990 that was a body beyond Pluto.

Scientists believe that the system of moons of the dwarf planet was formed by a collision between Pluto and another planetary body in the early solar system history and yielding material became the group of satellites that orbit around it.

They also think that the Material from the moons of Pluto by micrometeorite impacts could form rings around the dwarf planet, but the pictures from Hubble have not detected so far, although they met the new moon which will now have to find name .

The director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA in Washington, Jon Morse, stressed the importance of this discovery, calling it "a powerful reminder" Hubble's ability "to make amazing discoveries".


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