Nix is one of Pluto’s small moons. It was discovered using the Hubble Space Telescope in 2005. It was the best imaged of the small moons by the New Horizons spacecraft during the 2015 flyby of Pluto. This is the highest-resolution image of Nix. On 14 July, 2015, the basic image was captured in grayscale by LORRI camera and color has been added based on other images from Ralph MVIC.

Image Credit: NASA

Pluto and Its Moons

Most moons in the solar system are tidally locked and keep one face pointed toward their central planet. Charon, Pluto’s largest moon, behaves this way,  but Pluto’s four small moons behave like spinning tops. Pluto is shown at center of this animation with, in order, from smaller to wider orbit: Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, Hydra.


Video Credit: NASA

Nix and Hydra

nh-nix-hydraPluto’s moon Nix (left) is shown here in enhanced color as imaged by the New Horizons Ralph instrument. It has a reddish spot that has attracted the interest of mission scientists.   The image shows features as small as approximately 3 km across. Nix is estimated to be 42 km long and 36 km wide.

Features as small as 1.2 kilometer) are visible on Hydra (right) in this black and white image taken from New Horizons’ LORRI instrument. Hydra measures 55 km in length.

Image Credit: NASA

New Horizons, Nix, and Hydra

Nix_HydraNew Horizons is closing in on Pluto and its moons for a flyby in July. The moons Nix and Hydra are visible in this series of images taken by the spacecraft between 27 January and 8 February at distances ranging from about 201 million to 186 million km. This seven-frame movie assembled from the new images is the first extended look at Hydra (identified by a yellow diamond ) and its first-ever view of Nix (orange diamond) by New Horizons.

Image Credit: NASA

Pluto, Charon, Nix, and Hydra

Pluto and moonsThis picture shows the dwarf planet Pluto and three of its five moons. This Hubble image was originally black and white and recorded only overall brightness. Those brightness values were translated into a range of bluish hues. Such color maps can be useful in helping to distinguish subtly-varying brightness in an image. The colors in this image are not what human eyes would see looking at Pluto.

Image Credit: NASA