Pluto, begging to be a planet again, shows off newfound moon

Pluto may never again be considered a proper planet, but at least it won't be lonely. The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted another moon orbiting the dwarf planet — raising Pluto's satellite count to five — as Hubble was checking out the plutoid for a Pluto-bound NASA mission.

Hubble was gazing Pluto's way as it checked the path of New Horizons, a robotic spacecraft launched by NASA in 2006. Right now, New Horizons is somewhere between the orbits of Uranus and Neptune, and it's set for a flyby of Pluto sometime in 2015. As it zips by, it'll have an opportunity to study Pluto and its five moons closer than ever before, and it could even move on to other objects in the Kuiper Belt that Pluto resides in. That is, if some secret sixth moon doesn't smash it to bits.

Pluto, discovered in 1930 by American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, was brutally demoted in 2006 when it was found that other large — and larger — celestial bodies shared the Kuiper Belt with the dwarf planet.

New Horizons, via BBC News and NPR

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