Naiad (moon)
Overview
 
Naiad also known as Neptune III, is the innermost satellite
Inner satellite
In astronomy, an inner moon is a natural satellite following a prograde, low inclination orbit inwards of the large satellites of the parent planet. They are generally thought to have been formed in situ at the same time as the coalescence of the original planet...

 of Neptune
Neptune
Neptune is the eighth and farthest planet from the Sun in the Solar System. Named for the Roman god of the sea, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third largest by mass. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times...

, named after the Naiads of Greek legend
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

.

Naiad was discovered sometime before mid-September 1989 from the images taken by the Voyager 2
Voyager 2
The Voyager 2 spacecraft is a 722-kilogram space probe launched by NASA on August 20, 1977 to study the outer Solar System and eventually interstellar space...

probe
Space probe
A robotic spacecraft is a spacecraft with no humans on board, that is usually under telerobotic control. A robotic spacecraft designed to make scientific research measurements is often called a space probe. Many space missions are more suited to telerobotic rather than crewed operation, due to...

. The last moon to be discovered during the flyby, it was designated S/1989 N 6. The discovery was announced on September 29, 1989, in the IAU Circular No. 4867, but the text only talks of "25 frames taken over 11 days", giving a discovery date of sometime before September 18.
Encyclopedia
Naiad also known as Neptune III, is the innermost satellite
Inner satellite
In astronomy, an inner moon is a natural satellite following a prograde, low inclination orbit inwards of the large satellites of the parent planet. They are generally thought to have been formed in situ at the same time as the coalescence of the original planet...

 of Neptune
Neptune
Neptune is the eighth and farthest planet from the Sun in the Solar System. Named for the Roman god of the sea, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third largest by mass. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times...

, named after the Naiads of Greek legend
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

.

Naiad was discovered sometime before mid-September 1989 from the images taken by the Voyager 2
Voyager 2
The Voyager 2 spacecraft is a 722-kilogram space probe launched by NASA on August 20, 1977 to study the outer Solar System and eventually interstellar space...

probe
Space probe
A robotic spacecraft is a spacecraft with no humans on board, that is usually under telerobotic control. A robotic spacecraft designed to make scientific research measurements is often called a space probe. Many space missions are more suited to telerobotic rather than crewed operation, due to...

. The last moon to be discovered during the flyby, it was designated S/1989 N 6. The discovery was announced on September 29, 1989, in the IAU Circular No. 4867, but the text only talks of "25 frames taken over 11 days", giving a discovery date of sometime before September 18. The name was given on 16 September 1991.

Naiad is irregularly shaped and probably has not been modified by any internal geological processes after its formation. It is likely that it is a rubble pile re-accreted from fragments of Neptune's original satellites, which were smashed up by perturbations from Triton
Triton (moon)
Triton is the largest moon of the planet Neptune, discovered on October 10, 1846, by English astronomer William Lassell. It is the only large moon in the Solar System with a retrograde orbit, which is an orbit in the opposite direction to its planet's rotation. At 2,700 km in diameter, it is...

 soon after that moon's capture into a very eccentric initial orbit.

Naiad orbits about 23,500 km above Neptune's cloud tops. Since this is below the synchronous orbit
Synchronous orbit
A synchronous orbit is an orbit in which an orbiting body has a period equal to the average rotational period of the body being orbited , and in the same direction of rotation as that body.-Properties:...

 radius, its orbit is slowly decaying due to tidal deceleration and may eventually impact Neptune's atmosphere, or break up into a planetary ring
Planetary ring
A planetary ring is a ring of cosmic dust and other small particles orbiting around a planet in a flat disc-shaped region.The most notable planetary rings known in Earth's solar system are those around Saturn, but the other three gas giants of the solar system possess ring systems of their...

 upon passing its Roche limit
Roche limit
The Roche limit , sometimes referred to as the Roche radius, is the distance within which a celestial body, held together only by its own gravity, will disintegrate due to a second celestial body's tidal forces exceeding the first body's gravitational self-attraction...

 due to tidal stretching. Naiad orbits Neptune well within its fluid Roche limit, and its density is expected to be low enough that it may be very close to its actual Roche limit already.

Since the Voyager 2 flyby, the Neptune system has been extensively studied from ground-based observatories
Observatory
An observatory is a location used for observing terrestrial or celestial events. Astronomy, climatology/meteorology, geology, oceanography and volcanology are examples of disciplines for which observatories have been constructed...

 and the Hubble Space Telescope
Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope is a space telescope that was carried into orbit by a Space Shuttle in 1990 and remains in operation. A 2.4 meter aperture telescope in low Earth orbit, Hubble's four main instruments observe in the near ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared...

 as well. In 2002–03 the Keck telescope
Keck telescopes
The W. M. Keck Observatory is a two-telescope astronomical observatory at an elevation of near the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawai'i. The primary mirrors of each of the two telescopes are in diameter, making them the second largest optical telescopes in the world, slightly behind the Gran Telescopio...

 observed the system using adaptive optics
Adaptive optics
Adaptive optics is a technology used to improve the performance of optical systems by reducing the effect of wavefront distortions. It is used in astronomical telescopes and laser communication systems to remove the effects of atmospheric distortion, and in retinal imaging systems to reduce the...

 and detected easily the largest four inner satellites. Thalassa was found with some image processing, but Naiad was not located. Hubble has the ability to detect all the known satellites and possible new satellites even dimmer than Voyager 2. Still, Naiad has not been found. It is suspected that this is due to considerable errors in Naiad's ephemeris
Ephemeris
An ephemeris is a table of values that gives the positions of astronomical objects in the sky at a given time or times. Different kinds of ephemerides are used for astronomy and astrology...

.

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