A few weeks ago, a huge galaxy orbiting our own appeared seemingly out of nowhere. And now, astronomers have discovered a brand new moon hiding in plain sight at the outskirts of our very own Solar System.
The moon has been spotted orbiting the second brightest icy dwarf planet, Makemake, way out past Pluto in the Kuiper belt, and it’s around 161 km (100 miles) in diameter. So what’s going on? And why the hell has it taken us so long to spot these not insignificant objects in our own cosmic backyard?
It turns out the newly discovered moon, which has been temporarily named ‘S/2015 (136472) 1’, or the more friendly ‘MK 2’ for short, was able to stay hidden for so long because it’s incredibly dark. Just like the newly spotted galaxy earlier this month, the moon reflects such a tiny, tiny amount of light that we’ve struggled to see it next to the glare of Makemake. In fact, it’s more than 1,300 times fainter than its host planet – so dim that Makemake was previously thought to be the only officially recognised distant dwarf planet without a satellite… a title it’s now lost. Source: Hubble just discovered a moon hiding at the back of our Solar System