Print 28 comment(s) - last by CrazyDef.. on Feb 27 at 12:02 PM

Image courtesy of NASA
It has been confirmed that the furthest planet in the Earth's solar system has two new moons

The Hubble Space Telescope has confirmed that Pluto has two more moons, which will accompany Charon and now brings the planet's total number of moons to three.  Astronomers believe that a cataclysmic collision of two objects millions of years ago created all three satellites that now orbit Pluto.  The new moons have been temporarily named P1 and P2, and were discovered in May 2005 with the Hubble Space Telescope.  Scientists have guessed that P1 and P2 are around 40 and 31 miles in diameter.  Charon is much larger with a 750 mile diameter.  

Pluto is the furthest planet in our solar system and lies in a vast band of small, icy bodies beyond Neptune called the Kuiper belt. Charon was discovered in 1978 and although some astronomers suspected that Pluto could have other, smaller, moons, none were found until now because of the difficulty in detecting objects so far away from Earth.

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Are these really moons?
By Kuroyama on 2/24/2006 7:02:27 AM , Rating: 1
Neat, but I imagine that calling these moons will be as controversial as calling "planet 10" a planet (or Pluto for that matter). 40 miles in diameter sounds more like an orbiting asteroid than a moon.

RE: Are these really moons?
By patentman on 2/24/2006 7:10:45 AM , Rating: 2
Is there a difference between an "orbiting asteroid" and a moon?

RE: Are these really moons?
By Xenoterranos on 2/24/2006 12:33:16 PM , Rating: 4
That's no moon...that's a SPACE STATION

RE: Are these really moons?
By TheLiberalTruth on 2/24/2006 5:35:16 PM , Rating: 4
I've got a bad feeling about this.

RE: Are these really moons?
By bribud on 2/24/2006 8:11:39 PM , Rating: 2
It's too big to be a Space Station.

RE: Are these really moons?
By sieistganzfett on 2/25/2006 1:30:31 PM , Rating: 2
your right! They ar too big to be space stations, too big to be Volkswagens...
P1 is actually the part of the state of Rhode Island, people just didnt notice it yet.
P2 is really just 6 elephants that are sitting in two taxis inside of a refrigerator that are orbiting pluto.
and Charon is just something alien forms of pinky and the brain created that is really nothing more than chia-pluto they created when they were trying to take over pluto.

RE: Are these really moons?
By CrazyDef on 2/27/2006 12:02:35 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Are these really moons?
By judasmachine on 2/24/2006 1:48:24 PM , Rating: 2
Not really look at Mars, both it's moons appear to be captured asteroids.

RE: Are these really moons?
By Lord Zado on 2/24/2006 7:47:37 AM , Rating: 3
I think the fact that it is indeed orbiting makes it a moon.

RE: Are these really moons?
By DarthPierce on 2/24/2006 9:34:30 AM , Rating: 2
Well, Mars has 2 moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are 11.2 and 6.1 km in diameter respectively. So, since we consider them moons (and have for as long as we've known them to exist) I see no reason that moons of pluto that are like 10x bigger wouldn't be considered moons too...

Perhaps the most controversial "moon" is actually Charon itself, since it is similar enough in size that it was breifly considered to make it a "co-planet".... but then that was just a silly overreaction to the controversy the sprouted when it was realized that the mass and occlusion that was originally attrributed to Pluto was actually for 2 separate bodies, making Pluto much smaller than was believed at the time it was made a planet.

RE: Are these really moons?
By masher2 on 2/24/2006 9:44:28 AM , Rating: 3
40 miles is a decent size for a moon-- Jupiter has 63 known moons, some as small as 0.6 miles in diameter. Saturn has a few billion orbiting chunks of gravel on its any astronomer hard enough and they'll admit each one of them fits the technical definition of a moon.

That's not true
By heffeque on 2/24/2006 8:53:58 AM , Rating: 2
That's not true. Pluto is no longer the last planet in our solar system. It's Xena, and then there's Gabrielle, but it's not know if Gabrielle is a moon or a planet. So there you go: at whe have at least 10 plantes, not 9 :-P

RE: That's not true
By pmercier18 on 2/24/2006 9:34:26 AM , Rating: 2
Xena is "thought" to be another planet, it has never been settled that pluto is actually a planet, based on some theory. The hard thing about these two planets is their distance, and orbit, pluto has a ver elipitical tilted orbit that takes hundres of years. the rest of the planets orbit on a flat 2d surface, while pluto is on a 3d surface. it will be way past our lifetime until they figure out if pluto, much less xena, are infact planets and not very large comits.

RE: That's not true
By DarthPierce on 2/24/2006 9:40:32 AM , Rating: 2
Well, really "planet" is just a word. The IAU (International Astronomical Union) officially gets to decide what a planet might or might not be. Pluto is a planet. Pluto is also a TNO (Trans Neptunian-Object).

From NASA:
Currently, the definition of a planet (as opposed to an asteriod or a TNO) is rather arbitrary. If astronomers reach a consensus on what the defintion of a planet should be, then IAU may reclassify some Solar System objects. However, in the absense of such a consensus, the definition is historical and arbitrary; moreover, many people outside the professional astronomy community have an interest in this issue, as the media attention attests. "Until there is a consensus that one of the physical definitions is clearly the most useful approach in thinking about the solar system, the IAU will not 'demote' Pluto or 'promote' Ceres," says the IAU.

RE: That's not true
By Spinne on 2/24/2006 9:49:05 AM , Rating: 2
There's no theory that says what's a planet and what isn't. It's purely a matter of choice. The math doesn't care if you call it a planet. Personally, since Pluto's been considered a planet ever since it was discovered, I'd like to keep things that way. Honestly, naming the 10th planet Xena is absurd. That show will be dead and gone in a few decades and then people will have to ask the question, 'Xena? WTF is Xena?" How about PAN? Here a little bit of info on PAN
Pan (who is pictured above in the act of sneaking into a gathering of the twelve Olympians) was a god of shepherds and flocks. Pan was the son of Hermes and a nymph. He was born with the legs and horns of a goat, which caused his own mother to spurn him.

Nor was the adult god more popular with the nymphs. Echo ran away from him and lost her voice as a consequence, being condemned only to repeat the words of others. Another fleeing nymph was transformed into a reed, which inspired Pan to invent the shepherd's pipe of bound reeds of varying lengths.

Pan was considered to be the cause of the sudden fear that sometimes comes for no reason, especially in lonely places. That's why it's called "panic".

Uhmmm, 9 billion miles out sounds very lonely, I'd panic if I were stuck there! ;-)

RE: That's not true
By clubok on 2/24/2006 10:32:31 PM , Rating: 2
The name "Pan" is already taken - it's one of the moons of Saturn.

RE: That's not true
By AbelIAN on 2/24/2006 9:54:31 AM , Rating: 2
Gabrielle? IS that a TV show joke?

And, yes I agree with the above poster, 10 "plantes" but not 10 planets (JK).

Your all wrong
By Discord on 2/24/2006 4:42:12 PM , Rating: 3
There is only one Moon in our solar system and it orbits our planet, the Earth.
Everything else described as a Moon, in this article, is really a satellite (including the actual “Moon”).

RE: Your all wrong
By AbelIAN on 2/24/2006 5:30:43 PM , Rating: 2
What dictionary do you use, and why is it so much better than what everyone else uses?

RE: Your all wrong
By Knish on 2/24/2006 5:59:59 PM , Rating: 3
RE: Your all wrong

By the looks of it, I'd say he was using Ye Olde Trollish.

By Alphafox78 on 2/24/2006 12:32:23 PM , Rating: 2
maybe we are all moons orbiting around the planet Sun!!

RE: Moons
By Cygni on 2/24/2006 2:30:31 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe our star is just a moon of the supermassive blackhole at the center of our galaxy?? ;)

Yes, but have they found......
By marvdmartian on 2/24/2006 11:23:55 AM , Rating: 3
Klingons around Uranus??????'s Friday, and I just HAD to say it!! ;)

And NASA may abandon it
By Ringold on 2/24/2006 4:23:38 PM , Rating: 3
Hubble turns out pictures like this, and they want to kill it off?

At least wait until some of the next-generation space telescopes get launched, I say. Not the realm of science's fault that government is inherently a ball of inefficiency where a private competitive market could probably perform NASA's services for 20% of the cost :P

By Maximilian on 2/24/2006 6:40:18 AM , Rating: 2
pretty sweet you guys!

By Josh7289 on 2/24/2006 8:24:42 AM , Rating: 1
"It has been confirmed that the furthest planet in the Earth's solar system has three new moons"

Don't you mean two new moons? ;)

RE: Typo...
By Kiwi on 2/24/2006 12:02:16 PM , Rating: 1
Worse than merely the COUNT of moons is the time shift. They are not "New" moons at all. "Newly discovered" is what they actually are. Otherwise, the news would have been much more exciting: "Pluto's gravitaional field captures two new bodies into orbit around it!"


By goku on 2/24/2006 2:02:10 PM , Rating: 2
:confused; How is pluto the furthest planet in the solar system? What happened to that 10th planet?? I thought it was further than pluto and surprising larger.

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