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Does Pluto Have Moons?



Pluto DOES have moons.

More Info: Pluto has five moons – Charon, Nix, Hydra, P4 and P5.

Pluto’s Largest Moon, Charon

Charon was the first of Pluto’s moons to be discovered. In 1978, astronomer James Christy noticed images of Pluto were strangely elongated and confirmed through additional images that he had discovered Pluto’s first moon. Charon’s orbit around Pluto takes about 6.4 earth days and is 12,200 miles from Pluto.

Pluto’s Moons Nix and Hydra

Pluto’s second and third moons, Nix and Hydra, were discovered in 2005. They are roughly 5,000 times fainter than Pluto, and are about two to three times farther from Pluto than Charon. They are roughly 20 to 70 miles in diameter, compared to Charon’s 648 miles in diameter.

Pluto’s Newly Discovered Moons, P4 and P5

Pluto’s fourth moon, temporarily designated P4, was discovered in 2011. Its fifth moon, temporarily designated P5, was discovered in 2012.

P4 is estimated to be 8 to 21 miles in diameter and  P5 is estimated to be about 6 to 15 miles in diameter and shaped irregularly.

P5 was discovered by scientists searching for potential hazards to the  voyage of the New Horizons spacecraft when it flies by Pluto in 2015.

A Small Planet with Many Moons

The discovery of the fourth and fifth moons of Pluto has intrigued scientists and helped formulate new theories as to how the Pluto system formed and evolved. The current popular theory concludes the moons remain after a collision between Pluto and another large Kuiper belt object billions of years ago.



“Pluto Moons.” NASA. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2012. <>.

“Pluto (dwarf planet) : Pluto’s moons — Britannica Online Encyclopedia.” Britannica Online Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2012. <>.

“NASA – New Horizons: Mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.” NASA – Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2012.

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