Talking Smack: The Asteroid Collision Quiz
The newly found moon, temporarily designated S/2004 N 1, brings Neptune's orbital brood to 14. With an estimated diameter of no more than 12 miles, the new moon is Neptune's smallest.
S/2004 N 1 is located about 65,400 miles from the planet, between the orbits of sister moons Larissa and Proteus, and it circles Neptune about every 23 hours.
Credit for the discovery goes to Mark Showalter, with the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., who was studying archived images of Neptune taken by the Hubble observatory between 2004 and 2009.
ANALYSIS: Neptune and Uranus Possess Weird Jet Streams
He was analyzing about 150 images to learn more about faint ring segments circling Neptune, when, on a whim, he looked beyond the rings and noticed a white dot. That turned out to be the new moon.