…and Then There Were Four!

July 20, 2011 at 6:42 PM (curious research, late night studies)

Now that it has been dismissed from the bunch, it seems to be receiving more attention than ever!  First, two new moons were discovered around it. Then, it was demoted to the status of minor planet.  Now, another moon has been spotted, orbiting around it!

For some curious reason, astronomers had been observing Pluto, trying to spot rings around the world.  I did not know that there had been speculations about the distant planet/planetoid having a ring system.  Yet, legitimate astronomers actually were searching for evidence of rings encircling Pluto.

While searching for these rings, telescopically observing astronomers came upon a sudden surprise.  A fourth moon is orbiting Pluto!  Wow!  Here is poor Pluto, stripped of it’s planetary position, and demoted to the status of little more than an asteroid.  Now, here it is, packing four moons of it’s own!

Pluto is/was the smallest planet of our solar system.  It has a diameter that expands for no more than 1, 415 miles.  It actually is a mere eighteen percent of the diameter of our Earth.  It’s diminuitive size and distant orbit had scientists to reduce it’s status as an outright planet within our solar system, reclassifying it as a dwarf planet.

Now, as small as it is, astronomers whom have been studying Pluto have found that it has a fourth moon.  Yes; FOUR!  Take that, Earth!  Only the enormous gas giants have more moons than four!

It was 1978 when Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, was discovered.  It has a diameter of only 728 miles, making it half the size of Pluto.  Charon orbits Pluto in what has been estimated as the time length of one full day. Some scientists seem to be observing that Charon and Pluto are in a mutual orbit of one another, possibly classifying them as a dual planetary system.

May of 2005 was when Hydra and Nix were identified in orbit of Pluto.  Scientists using The Hubble Space Telescope viewed the distant objects, studying them to determine as to how they were to be classified.  After verifying studies were completed, these satellites were designated as official moons by The International Astronomical Union.

The recently identified moon has been labeled as P4, for now.  It has a diameter that is a distance of no more than between eight and twenty-one miles (one would think that Pluto just farted, and a chunk of rock flew off…)!  It has been spotted in orbit around Pluto that is somewhere in between the orbits of the moons Hydra and Nix, orbiting the planet within thirty-one Earth-length days.

P4, like Hydra and Nix, is thought to have formed from Pluto after it was slammed by an asteroid.  It may have been an asteroid, or it possibly could have been a larger object.  This is the same theory of how our Moon formed from the materials of our Earth!

A fourth moon for Pluto







File:Pluto animiert.gif

Planet Pluto

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