A new moon in the orbit of Neptune
– A research group has discovered the records of the Hubble Space Telescope. This has the planet now a total of 15 known satellites orbiting around it. The discovery was made by the Mark Showalter astronomers of the Seti Institute in California – the acronym stands for Search for extraterrestrial intelligence, So the search for extraterrestrial life forms.
The team, which also includes researchers from the University of Berkeley and researchers from the US space agency NASA, has details of the discovery in the current issue of the journal. nature published (Showalter
et al., 2019).
Since Pluto has lost planetary status (see the box), Neptune is now considered the outermost planet of our solar system, which consequently has only eight planets – including Earth. The diameter of Neptune, at 50,000 kilometers, is almost four times that of our planet. It is the fourth largest planet behind Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. The ice giant is surrounded by a special ring structure. Several rings of solid particles, like dust grains, revolve around it. So far, 14 moons have been known to orbit the planet at different distances. Some are more than ten million kilometers from the surface.
Six of the moons moving near Neptune were first sighted by the Voyager 2 probe in 1989, when it occurred on a space mission. According to the researchers, the satellites were made up of comet impacts and correspondingly younger than the gas giant itself.
Hippocamp, the smallest Neptunmond
On recordings of the Hubble Space Telescope, spying on planets and other celestial bodies since 1990, Showalter and his team have discovered another moon near the planet. It had remained hidden during the flight of Voyager 2 at the end of the 80s.
Special image processing techniques made possible for researchers
and researchers, focusing on the fastest moons on the inner rings of the
Focus of Neptune. The images, which exposed the object with the official name S / 2004, date back to the years 2004 to 2005. On further images of 2009 and 2016 the existence of the fifteenth Moon of Neptune was confirmed.
It takes its name from the Greek seahorse
Mythology. With an average diameter of about 34
Kilometers, the new addition is the smallest known Neptunmond. a
Comparison: The largest, Triton, has a diameter of about 2,700 kilometers.
Hippocamp itself orbits around the largest Moon Proteus. "Suppose that after an impact of the comet on Proteus, it has formed from the dissolved fragments," the researchers explain in their study nature-Publishing. The new discovery also supports the hypothesis that external influences must have shaped the development of Neptune's inner moons. In their work, astronomers have also looked more closely at other Neptune satellites. What they found shows a story of lunar origin moving within 100,000 kilometers from the eighth planet of our solar system.
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