Global Killer Asteroid



Among the ringed gas giant planet Saturn's amazing collection of 62 diverse, bizarre, and beautiful moons and moonlets, sometimes one of them just seems to stand out in the crowd. Such a moon is little Methone. Looking like a shiny white egg in Space, and composed of very lightweight fluffy stuff, Methone is less dense than any other known moon or asteroid in our Solar System. In March 2013, astronomers announced at the 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference held in the Woodlands, Texas, that this strange little 5-kilometer-size moon is one of a batch of Space eggs in orbit around Saturn! As expected, coming in a range of materials means that there is extensive flexibility with respect to colour choice. Throughout their history the Moon Boot has always been a bright and happy addition to any winter wardrobe and now is no different. Colour examples include neutral and subtle tones such as ochre, grey, dark brown, black and ice through to light pink, violet, azure, petrol blue, orange and sea green. More conspicuous colours consist of silver, ivory, burgundy, bouganville, apricot, red and yellow especially since some also come in a metallic finish. The discovery of Makemake's little moon increases the parallels between Pluto and Makemake. This is because both of the small icy worlds are already known to be well-coated in a frozen shell of methane. Furthermore, additional observations of the little moon will readily reveal the density of Makemake--an important result that will indicate if the bulk compositions of Pluto and Makemake are similar. "This new discovery opens a new chapter in comparative planetology in the outer Solar System," Dr. Marc Buie commented in the April 26, 2016 Hubble Press Release. Dr. Buie, the team leader, is also of the Southwest Research Institute.