News Release Archive:

News Release 24 of 192

July 15, 2013 01:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2013-30

Hubble Finds New Neptune Moon


Image: Hubble Finds New Moon Orbiting Neptune

Hubble Finds New Moon Orbiting NeptuneSTScI-PRC2013-30

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This composite Hubble Space Telescope picture shows the location of a newly discovered moon, designated S/2004 N 1, orbiting the giant planet Neptune, nearly 3 billion miles from Earth.

The moon is so small (no more than 12 miles across) and dim, it was missed by NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft cameras when the probe flew by Neptune in 1989. Several other moons that were discovered by Voyager appear in this 2009 image, along with a circumplanetary structure known as ring arcs.

Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute discovered S/2004 N 1 in July 2013. He analyzed over 150 archival Neptune photographs taken by Hubble from 2004 to 2009. The same white dot appeared over and over again. He then plotted a circular orbit for the moon, which completes one revolution around Neptune every 23 hours.

The black-and-white image was taken in 2009 with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 in visible light. Hubble took the color inset of Neptune on August 19, 2009.

Object Names: S/2004 N 1, Neptune

Image Type: Astronomical/Illustration

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


The above montage includes these images:

Neptune Ring Arcs and Moons (unannotated) Image Type: Astronomical Neptune Ring Arcs and Moons (unannotated) Neptune Image Type: Astronomical Neptune

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