Hubble Space Telescope Detected A New Moon In The Solar System

First Posted: May 22, 2017 05:40 AM EDT

NASA/ESA's Hubble Space Telescope has detected and identified a new moon encircling the third largest dwarf planet known as 2007 OR10 in the Solar System. The said dwarf planet is known as a trans-Neptunian object (TN0) and previously thought as a dwarf planet with no moon.

On the other hand, the scientists have started to think that the dwarf planet might have the moon because it was rotating gradually than the usual as seen through Kepler Space Telescope. This indicates that the moon may be pulling it and decelerating its spin. They found that 2007 OR10 rotated about 45 hours to complete one rotation, which is not usual from the normal rotating hours of about less than 24 hours, according to the Verge.

Then, the scientists looked at the images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. They found that there is the moon in the pictures of the dwarf planet 2007 OR10 through the observations in 2009 and 2010. At first, the moon had not been noticed.

Csaba Kiss, the astronomer at Konkoly Observatory in Budapest and the lead author of the study, said that the initial investigator missed the moon in the Hubble images because it is very faint. Then, they utilized past heat measurements of the dwarf planet that were taken by the Herschel Space Observatory. The scientists were able to gauge its diameter about 150 miles to 250 miles.

The team concluded that that the planet and its moon are in the Kuiper Belt, which a realm of freezing leftovers developed by the shaping of the solar system dated 4.6 billion years ago. They confirmed that most of the dwarf planets in the Kuiper Belt that are bigger than 600 miles across have companions. The discovery of this lunar satellite could help in understanding the developments of the moons in the young solar systems, according to TeCake.

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