Researchers Discovered a New Moon Orbiting Around Neptune

A new moon added in the fleet of Neptune’s Moon. Researchers have discovered a tiny moon revolving around the gas giant. They call it as Hippocamp, and the little world measures only 21 miles in diameter. According to research published in the journal Nature, Hippocamp is the tiniest and probably an ancient piece of a much larger moon. Researchers from California’s SETI Institute studied the data collected by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. They firstly spotted the new moon in 2013. The Hubble Telescope first clicked a tiny dot in 2004, it remained uncovered until 2013.

The team of scientists discovered the moon while carefully studying the old data revealing six other moons present inside the orbit. Mark Showalter, leading author the study from SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), says Hippocamp is smaller than the other six moons. He also notes the name of Neptune’s tiny moon comes from Greek mythology of the seas. Hippocamp is the name for the half-horse and half-fish creature. Astronauts say the finding of Hippocamp backs theories that the inner moons formed by several collisions throughout the years.

Hippocamp is present in close orbit to Proteus. There is a possibility that the formation of the moon took place due to a collision between Proteus (Neptune’s largest moon) and a comet. Dr. Showalter and his team used a new specialized image-processing approach that magnified the perception of Hubble’s cameras. The inner moons revolve very quickly, but this technique boosts the exposure time. The procedure enabled scientists to view the inner moons despite their fast speed. The team also discovered small moons around Uranus, Saturn, and Pluto. Showalter said he looked for tinier moons around the gas giant by using Hubble observations. It will not be surprising for him if there are more. He also noted that it would require a probe in orbit around Neptune for the ultimate discovery.

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