Tuesday, July 16, 2013

S/2004 N 1 - the smallest and newly discovered moon of Neptune

(This article has been cross-posted from SayPeople.com)

Main Point:

Astronomers discovered a tiny new moon, dubbed S/2004 N 1, around Neptune with the help of Hubble Space Telescope on July 1 and announced it on July 15.

Study Further:

Astronomers have reported that the new moon is the Neptune’s smallest moon of 14 of the known moons. It is just 12 miles (19 kilometers) wide. This moon is so small that it is about 100 million times fainter than the dimmest star.
"The moons and arcs [segments of rings around the planet] orbit very quickly, so we had to devise a way to follow their motion in order to bring out the details of the system," SETI Institute scientist Mark Showalter, the moon's discoverer, said in a statement. "It's the same reason a sports photographer tracks a running athlete — the athlete stays in focus, but the background blurs."
Scientists studied the photos taken by Hubble from the year 2004 to 2009 and found the moon in about 150 of those photos. They determined that the tiny moon orbits the Neptune about every 23 hours.

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