Pluto – How many moons?

Seth Jarvis

Pop quiz, hotshot!

How many moons does Pluto have?

1)  None.  Pluto isn’t a planet anymore, remember?  If you’re not a planet you can’t have moons.

2)  One. It’s called Charon and it was discovered in 1978. As moons go in comparison to the size of the planets they orbit, Charon is huge – 1/3 the diameter of Pluto!

3)  Four.  In 2011 astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope discovered the tiny worlds we now call “Nix” and “Hydra” orbiting Pluto, and right after that they discovered a tiny moon that for now goes by the utilitatian designation, “P4.”

4)  Five.  The harder we look at Pluto with sensitive telescopes, the more we see.  Astronomers just discovered another itsy-bitsy world around Pluto, and in a manic burst of creativity have designated it “P5.”

The correct answer can be found by studing the image below.

Pluto – who knew it would turn out to be such a busy place!

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6 thoughts on “Pluto – How many moons?

  1. Pluto is only not a planet depending on your theories. Some people say that it is an asteroid now. Some say it’s plainly not a planet. Others say it’s still a planet, but a dwarf planet.

  2. Styx is the common name given to P5. The moon was discovered in 2012 and designated ‘P5.’ In 2013, the IAU gave it the name ‘Styx’ in 2013. Also, ‘P4′ was named ‘Kerberos’ in 2013. So, there really are just 5 moons at present. With the pending arrival of New Horizons this year, more may yet be discovered!

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