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Image courtesy Dr. R. Albrecht (ESA/ESO Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility) and NASA.

Searching for more moons of Pluto
News story originally written on February 28, 2003

Astronomers are starting to search for more moons of Pluto. Pluto only has one moon that we know about. Pluto's moon is called Charon. But Pluto is very far away, so it is hard to see even with very big telescopes. Some astronomers think Pluto may have more moons that we haven't found yet.

In a few years a spacecraft named New Horizons will go to Pluto. New Horizons will be the very first spacecraft to visit Pluto! Scientist want to know whether Pluto has more moons before New Horizons gets there. If Pluto has more moons, the spacecraft can study them when it zooms past Pluto. Astronomers will use telescopes on Earth and maybe the Hubble Space Telescope to look for moons around Pluto before New Horizons is launched.

Why do scientists think there might be more moons around Pluto? Astronomers have discovered 41 new moons around Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune in the last few years! But they haven't found any new moons around Pluto. Not yet, anyway! Maybe they will find some more moons later this year.


Last modified April 21, 2003 by Randy Russell.

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