Posted: Jul 11, 2012 10:39 AM
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- There's something lurking around distant and icy dwarf planet Pluto: a fifth moon.
A team of scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope said Wednesday they have discovered the tiniest moon yet around Pluto. That brings the number of known moons to five.
The mini-moon is estimated to be 6 to 15 miles across, smaller than the one that scientists spotted last year, which is 8 to 21 miles wide. Pluto's largest moon, Charon, is about 650 miles across.
Until the newly found moon gets a name, it will be known as P5.
A NASA spacecraft named New Horizons is speeding toward Pluto where it will arrive in 2015. When New Horizons launched in 2006, Pluto was a full-fledged planet, but astronomers have since demoted it to dwarf planet.
Credit: NASA; ESA; M. Showalter, SETI Institute
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