New Horizons Detects All Five of Pluto's Faintest Known Moons For the First Time
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has photographed all 5 known moons of Pluto for the first time, including the two faintest and smallest moons, Kerberos and Styx. Back in July 2013, New Horizons spotted Charon, Pluto's largest moon, followed by the smaller moons Hydra in July 2014, and Nix in January 2015.
The latest image, taken by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) from April 25-May 1, added Kerberos and Styx to the Pluto system family portrait. LORRI is basically a digital camera that is connected to a large telephoto telescope. It will be used to provide long-range and high-resolution mapping imagery.
“Detecting these tiny moons from a distance of more than 55 million miles is amazing, and a credit to the team that built our LORRI long-range camera and John Spencer’s team of moon and ring hunters,” added New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute.
As New Horizons approaches Pluto, it might spot additional moons that are yet to be discovered. “New Horizons is now on the threshold of discovery,” said mission science team member John Spencer, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
For the original press release, read here.