18 May 2005

A second photo from the Hubble Space Telescope confirms that Pluto has two additional moons, Nix and Hydra.

Pluto has five known moons. These moons were discovered by various astronomical observations and imaging techniques. Here is some information about each of Pluto’s moons:

Charon: Charon is the largest moon of Pluto and was discovered in 1978 by James Christy. It is the only moon of Pluto that was known before the launch of the New Horizons spacecraft. Charon is about half the size of Pluto, making it the largest moon relative to its parent planet in the solar system. It has a diameter of approximately 1,212 kilometers (753 miles) and is locked in synchronous rotation with Pluto, always showing the same face to its parent planet.

Nix and Hydra: Nix and Hydra were discovered in 2005 by the Hubble Space Telescope. Nix is about 42 kilometers (26 miles) in diameter, while Hydra is slightly larger, with a diameter of about 55 kilometers (34 miles). Both moons are irregularly shaped and have highly reflective surfaces. They are located between the orbits of Charon and Pluto.

Kerberos: Kerberos is the fourth moon of Pluto and was discovered in 2011 by the Hubble Space Telescope. It is relatively small, with an estimated diameter of about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles). Kerberos has a highly elongated shape, resembling a dog bone, and it orbits Pluto in the same plane as the other moons.

Styx: Styx is the smallest and innermost moon of Pluto. It was also discovered in 2011 by the Hubble Space Telescope. Styx is irregularly shaped and has a diameter of approximately 16 kilometers (10 miles). It orbits Pluto in a circular path outside the orbit of Charon.

These moons are believed to have formed as a result of a collision between Pluto and another large celestial body in the early stages of the solar system’s formation. They play an important role in our understanding of the Pluto system and provide insights into the complex dynamics of small celestial bodies in the outer regions of the solar system.