After Hours

New moon found at Pluto; Neptune turns one

The Hubble Space Telescope discovered a new moon circling the dwarf planet Pluto. While searching for rings around Pluto scientists discovered the tiny moon, currently called P4, which is estimated between 8 and 21 miles in diameter. This moon was spotted using instruments approximately 3 billion miles away.

Scientists are studying Pluto in preparation for the New Horizons spacecraft which will fly by the icy dwarf planet in 2015.

Also in space news, Neptune was discovered 165 years ago by German astronomer Johann Galle on September 23, 1846. That's one year ago in Neptune time as it takes the planet 165 years to circle the sun which is 2.8 billion miles away. Plus, Hubble makes its 1 millionth scientific observation.

Above: Images taken on June 28 and July 3 confirm the existence of Pluto's new moon, P4.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI institute)