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Pluto moons discovery confirmed; planet may have rings
Posted: Thu, Feb 23, 2006, 8:05 AM ET (1305 GMT)
Pluto moons illustration (STScI) Astronomers confirmed Wednesday the discovery of two small moons orbiting the distant planet Pluto, and also suggested that the planet may have rings of ice and dust surrounding it. In a paper published in the current issue of the journal Nature, scientists described the discovery of the two small moons, first announced in November 2005. The presence and location of the moons was confirmed in Hubble Space Telescope images taken just last week; scientists plan to use those images to look for other small moons that may orbit the planet. Planetary scientists speculate that the two small moons formed in the same impact that formed Pluto's largest moon, Charon. The small moons may create thin rings of debris generated by impacts on their surfaces.
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