Image of Pluto moon, Nix, taken by New Horizons.

This recently received panchromatic image of Pluto's small satellite Nix taken by the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) aboard New Horizons is one of the best images of Pluto's third-largest moon generated by the NASA mission. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

Discovery

Nix was discovered in June 2005 by Hal Weaver and a large team of astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope.

In Depth

Nix is the inner of the two moons discovered orbiting Pluto in 2005. Nix and Hydra are roughly 5,000 times fainter than Pluto and are about two to three times farther from Pluto than its large moon, Charon, which was discovered in 1978. Nix and Hydra are roughly 20 to 70 miles (32 to 113 km) wide.

Images of Pluto moons, Nix and Hydra.
Pluto's moon Nix (left), shown here in enhanced color as imaged by the New Horizons Ralph instrument, has a reddish spot that has attracted the interest of mission scientists. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

They are so small and so faint that scientists combined a short exposure of Pluto and Charon and a long exposure of Nix and Hydra to create images of them all together.

How Nix Got its Name

Nix was named for the Greek goddess of darkness and night and mother of Charon.

Pluto Moons News