[meteorite-list] NASA Hubble Finds New Neptune Moon

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2013 13:48:19 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201307152048.r6FKmJnB001872_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

July 15, 2013

J.D. Harrington
Headquarters, Washington
j.d.harrington at nasa.gov

Donna Weaver / Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.
410-338-4493 / 410-338-4514
dweaver at stsci.edu [2] / villard at stsci.edu

RELEASE 13-215

NASA Hubble Finds New Neptune Moon

WASHINGTON -- NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a new moon
orbiting the distant blue-green planet Neptune, the 14th known to be circling
the giant planet.

The moon, designated S/2004 N 1, is estimated to be no more than 12 miles
across, making it the smallest known moon in the Neptunian system. It is so
small and dim that it is roughly 100 million times fainter than the faintest
star that can be seen with the naked eye. It even escaped detection by NASA's
Voyager 2 spacecraft, which flew past Neptune in 1989 and surveyed the
planet's system of moons and rings.

Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., found the moon
July 1, while studying the faint arcs, or segments of rings, around Neptune.
"The moons and arcs orbit very quickly, so we had to devise a way to follow
their motion in order to bring out the details of the system," he said. "It's
the same reason a sports photographer tracks a running athlete -- the athlete
stays in focus, but the background blurs."

The method involved tracking the movement of a white dot that appears over
and over again in more than 150 archival Neptune photographs taken by Hubble
from 2004 to 2009.

On a whim, Showalter looked far beyond the ring segments and noticed the
white dot about 65,400 miles from Neptune, located between the orbits of the
Neptunian moons Larissa and Proteus. The dot is S/2004 N 1. Showalter plotted
a circular orbit for the moon, which completes one revolution around Neptune
every 23 hours.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a cooperative project between NASA and the
European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.,
manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in
Baltimore, Md., conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated by the
Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy Inc., in Washington.

For images, video, and more information Neptune's new moon, visit:


For more information about the Hubble Space Telescope, visit:


Received on Mon 15 Jul 2013 04:48:19 PM PDT

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