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Astronomers identify two new moons revolving around Neptune and one encircling Uranus

Astronomers have identified two fresh moons revolving around Neptune and one circling Uranus, expanding the known count of satellites to 16 and 28, correspondingly. A compact moon has been pinpointed orbiting Uranus, provisionally designated “S/2023 U1.” This minuscule satellite, measuring a mere 5 miles (8 kilometers) wide, embarks on a 680-day orbit around Uranus. Its detection marks the first moon around Uranus discovered in over two decades, introducing a captivating addition to the planet’s lunar family. Adhering to tradition, the newly found Uranian moon will presumably be christened with a name inspired by characters from Shakespearean literature.

In tandem with the Uranian revelation, astronomers have identified two additional moons encircling Neptune. The brighter of the pair, temporarily denoted “S/2002 N5,” possesses a diameter of roughly 14 miles (23 kilometers) and completes an orbit around Neptune every nine years. Its fainter counterpart, named “S/2021 N1,” boasts a diameter of 8.6 miles (14 kilometers) and orbits Neptune every 27 years. These breakthroughs were disclosed by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center, as relayed by Space.com.

The pursuit of these celestial treasures involved collaborative efforts among astronomers worldwide. Researchers from esteemed institutions such as NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the University of Hawaii, and Kindai University contributed to the groundbreaking exploration.

State-of-the-art observational methods, encompassing specialized image processing techniques and meticulous observing conditions, proved instrumental in discerning and validating the orbits of these newfound moons.

Observatories situated in Hawaii and Chile, coupled with cutting-edge telescopes like the Magellan telescopes and Europe’s Very Large Telescope, played pivotal roles in these endeavors.


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