Thanks to NASA's New Horizons space probe, today we have photographs of the last two known moons of Pluto, Cerberus and Styx. They are the smallest of the five that this planet possesses. The image was captured by the probe after nine years of travel and more than 6,000 million kilometers traveled through space.
The names of these two moons, which in principle were called P4 and P5, were decided by popular choice. Participants were only asked to have the names related to classical mythology. Interestingly, the winning name, Vulcano, was discarded by the organization of the contest, as it is currently used for a "hypothetical planet" located between Mercury and the Sun.
The other three moons of Pluto are Charon, Hydra and Nix, which were discovered in July 2013, July 2014 and January 2015, respectively. The first is the largest. As for Cerbero and Styx, its existence was known since 2011 and 2012, respectively, since they were observed by the Hubble space telescope.
The moon Styx has an approximate diameter of between 7 and 21 kilometers. For its part, the diameter of Cerbero is between 10 and 30 kilometers. The image of these two moons of Pluto could be made thanks to the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) camera, which captures five 10-second exposures.
|Glitters in Ceres|