Pluto’s smallest moon finally pictured (Wired UK)

Kerberos, Pluto’s smallest moon


Pluto’s smallest moon, Kerberos, has been photographed for the first time. 

The last of Pluto’s five moons to be pictured, Kerberos is also the planet’s smallest, measuring 7.4 miles across its longest dimension and 2.8 miles across its shortest. It notably has an unusual ‘double-lobe’ shape, indicating that the moon may have started life as two separate objects similar to Comet 67P, on which the Philae lander recently landed. And, much like four of Pluto’s other moons, it is too small for its own gravity to shape it into a sphere. All of the small moons have icy surfaces.

New Horizons

Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, create a miniature binary system outside of which the four smaller moons, including Kerberos, orbit. Charon itself is so large that it skews Pluto from its barysphere — shifting its core inside the planet due to the relatively intense gravity. 

The image was captured by the New Horizons spacecraft from a distance of just under 250,000 miles. A number of images were taken from different positions and stitched together to form a complex picture of the moon. 

New Horizons is now executing a manoeuvre towards a body called ‘2014 MU69’, which is more than a billion miles away. It is the next stage in Nasa’s mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. The most recent images from New Horizons showed the highest resolution pictures of Pluto ever — revealing its strange, snakeskin texture. 

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23 October 2015 | 1:42 pm – Source:


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