Plutonian Moons

Now that New Horizons has passed by Pluto and it’s moons, it’s time we updated out images of the entire system.  Taking images from New Horizons, today’s APOD shows the relative sizes of the moons with the best photos we have of them to date.

Charon and the Small Moons of Pluto Image Credit: NASA, Johns Hopkins U. APL, SwRI

Looking at the image, it makes sense that Nix and Hydra weren’t discovered until 2005, and that Kerberos and Styx were not found until 2012.  The moons are so tiny and distant, and are dwarfed by the larger Charon and central Pluto.  As far as we know, this is it for Pluto’s moons, since we haven’t heard from the New Horizons team about any new discoveries in the recent fly-by images.

So the next challenge is to take the data we do have and find a way to learn more about the enigmatic moons, how they ended up orbiting such a small world to begin with, and where they originated in the solar system.

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