US astronomer discovers new Neptune moon
A US astronomer has discovered a previously unobserved moon orbiting Neptune using images from the Hubble Space Telescope. The new moon, currently known as S/2004 N 1, is the fourteenth known moon orbiting the gas giant.
According to a statement published by NASA, Mark Showalter of the private SETI Institute in California made the discovery while studying the ring-arcs of Neptune. Showalter analyzed more than 150 archival Neptune photographs taken by Hubble Space Telescope and spotted a circular orbit of the moon, which completes one revolution around Neptune every 23 hours.
The moon had gone unnoticed when NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft flew past the Neptunian system in 1989. It appears to be the smallest moon in the Neptunian system, measuring just 20 kilometers in diameter. It is about 100 million times dimmer than the faintest star visible to the naked eye.
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