Compass and scale image of Pluto

This image, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows five moons orbiting the distant, icy dwarf planet Pluto.

The newly discovered small moon, designated P5, is the innermost of the moons found by Hubble over the past seven years.

The diagram shows that P5 is in a 93 000-kilometre-diameter circular orbit around Pluto that is assumed to be co-planar with the other satellites in the system.

Though Charon (discovered in 1978) is an even closer moon to Pluto, some astronomers consider the Pluto-Charon pair a "double planet" because of Charon's is 12 percent of Pluto's mass (by comparison our Moon is .01 percent Earth's mass).

This image was taken with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 on July 7.

Other observations that collectively show the moon's orbital motion were taken on 26, 27, and 29 June, 2012 and 9 July, 2012.

The new data will help scientists in their planning for the July 2015 flyby of Pluto by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft.


Illustration Credit: NASA, ESA, and L. Frattare (STScI). Science Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI Institute)

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Release date:26 June 2013, 16:50
Size:1546 x 1578 px

About the Object

Type:Solar System : Planet
Category:Solar System

Image Formats

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625.3 KB
Screensize JPEG
296.3 KB

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