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Kerberos (moon)

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S/2011 (134340) 1
Pluto P4.jpg
Hubble Space Telescope discovery images of S/2011 P 1.
Discovered by Showalter M. R. and others[1]
Discovery time June 28, 2011[1]
(verified July 20, 2011)[2]
What it orbits Pluto[1]

Kerberos (formerly known as S/2011 (134340) 1[3] and informally as P4) is a small moon of the dwarf planet Pluto. The satellite was discovered on 28 June 2011.[1] It is the fourth moon of Pluto to be discovered.[1][4] The others are Charon, discovered in 1978, Nix and Hydra, which were discovered in 2005, and Styx, discovered in 2012.[1]


The moon was discovered by a Hubble Space Telescope observing team led by Mark Showalter,[2] while they were trying to find out if Pluto had any rings.[1] Kerberos was first seen in a photo taken with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3, on June 28, 2011.[1][3] More photos were taken on July 3 and July 18,[1][3] 2011, to confirm that it exists.[1] The moon was officially verified and announced on July 20, 2011.[2][4] Kerberos was not seen in earlier Hubble photos because the exposure times were shorter.[1] The moon may have appeared as a very faint smudge in photos taken in 2006,[1][3] but was ignored because it was not clear.[1] Kerberos is possibly also visible in images taken in 2010.[3]


Kerberos has an estimated diameter of 13–34 km (8–21 miles).[1][2][5][6] Kerberos and Pluto's other moons are thought to have been created by a cosmic collision between the dwarf planet and another celestial body early in the Solar System's history.[7]