Tags: neptune | moon | discovered

Neptune Moon, Newly Discovered, Is Tiny — Only 12 Miles Wide

Tuesday, 16 Jul 2013 12:50 PM

By Alexandra Ward

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Scientists have discovered a never-before-seen moon orbiting Neptune, bringing the total number of the blue planet's satellites to 14.

The new Neptune moon, dubbed S/2004 N 1, was spotted July 1 using old Hubble Space Telescope images. It measures just 12 miles wide and fully orbits the planet every 23 hours, according to Space.com.

Editor's Note: Don't Miss These Free Government Giveaways

The moon is so small that not even NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft noticed the orb when it was doing a flyby of Neptune in 1989. During that trip, six previously unknown moons were discovered.

In order to find S/2004 S 1, scientist Mark Showalter dug through archival photos taken by Hubble from 2004 to 2009, Space.com reports.

"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," Showalter, who works for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute, 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."

Neptune's largest moon is Triton at 1,680 miles across. Because it orbits in the opposite direction if its host planet, scientists have long suspected that the moon is actually a dwarf planet caught in Neptune's gravitational pull.

"This capture would have gravitationally torn up any original satellite system Neptune possessed," Hubble officials wrote in a statement. "Many of the moons now seen orbiting the planet probably formed after Triton settled into its unusual retrograde orbit about Neptune."

Urgent: Is Obamacare Hurting Your Wallet? Vote in Poll

Related stories:

Scientists Find Neighbor Star with 3 Planets in Life-Friendly Orbits

Voyager 1 Enters 'New ealm' at Edge of Solar System

New Mars Rover to be Launched by NASA in 2020

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Copy Shortlink
Send me more news as it happens.
Get me on The Wire
Send me more news as it happens.
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Top Stories

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved