That's no moon...
July 15, 2013 4:16 PM Subscribe
The 14th moon
of the planet Neptune has been confirmed. New Scientist
: "...its existence is an enigma. The object, known for now as S/2004 N1, is the first Neptunian moon to be found in a decade. Its diminutive size raises questions as to how it survived the chaos thought to have created the giant planet's other moons."Sky and Telescope
: "If its surface is dark, like those of other nearby satellites, then the new find has a diameter of no more than 10 to 12 miles (16 to 20 km) — the smallest of Neptune's 14 known moons."
: "According to Mark Showalter, a planetary astronomer at the SETI Institute in California who discovered the moon, the newfound object is almost 100 million times fainter than the faintest star visible to the naked eye."
: "Because S/2004 N1 is so dim, Showalter needed some time to confirm the moon’s presence. After aligning and combining about 15 sets of Hubble images taken between 2004 and 2009, he determined that the dot was, in fact, a moon. Roughly 150 images helped him plot the satellite’s orbit. "You can’t see it in the individual images, but when you combine images, it turns up," he said. "It turns up very consistently.""
: "Showalter, meanwhile, says that the team wants to let the public vote for the name of Neptune's new moon too, but the final choice will have to fit with convention. And, he says, it will have to avoid pop-culture references: "Aquaman is not a Greek or Roman character I'm afraid.""