Pluto's Other Four Moons

Pluto's Other Four Moons

Plutos moons Hubble.jpg

To continue with Pluto's moon week this post is about the other moons orbiting around Pluto. There are five moons discovered to date and they all found in a rather small area around Pluto. This is thought to have been caused by a collision in Pluto's early formation with another large Kuiper belt object. In much the same way that the Moon and Earth collided. 

All of Pluto's moons to date have been named after characters related to Hades, the underworld in Greek Mythology. The latest two moons are still not named (See Name Pluto's New Moons).

The largest of Pluto's moons is called Charon. This is a large object which is almost half the diameter of Pluto itself. This large moon is tidally locked to Pluto. This means they show the same side to each other. The moon is so large it causes Pluto to have a wobble. This is a similar type of wobble that exoplanet hunters look for in distant stars to reveal the star's planets.

Charon was discovered in 1978 and has a magnitude of 16.8. Nix and Hydra are much smaller and were discovered in 2005. Their magnitudes are around 23.5 (for more information on magnitude look here). P4 was found in 2011 and P5 in 2012.

Image credit: H. Weaver (JHU/APL), A. Stern (SwRI), and the HST Pluto Companion Search Team


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