PIA20033: Family Portrait of Pluto's Moons

Family Portrait of Pluto’s Moons


This composite image shows a sliver of Pluto's large moon, Charon, and all four of Pluto's small moons, as resolved by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on the New Horizons spacecraft. All the moons are displayed with a common intensity stretch and spatial scale (see scale bar). Charon is by far the largest of Pluto's moons, with a diameter of 751 miles (1,212 kilometers). Nix and Hydra have comparable sizes, approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers) across in their longest dimension above. Kerberos and Styx are much smaller and have comparable sizes, roughly 6-7 miles (10-12 kilometers) across in their longest dimension. All four small moons have highly elongated shapes, a characteristic thought to be typical of small bodies in the Kuiper Belt.

Background Info:

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, designed, built, and operates the New Horizons spacecraft, and manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The Southwest Research Institute, based in San Antonio, leads the science team, payload operations and encounter science planning. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Pluto Charon, Hydra, Kerberos, Nix, Styx
System Pluto Kuiper Belt
Target Type Satellite Dwarf Planet, KBO
Mission New Horizons
Instrument Host New Horizons
Host Type Flyby Spacecraft
Instrument Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI)
Extra Keywords Grayscale, Visual
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2015-10-23
Date in Caption
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA20033
Identifier PIA20033