Saturn Now Has Most Moons In Solar System

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Saturn now ranks as the biggest in the Solar System, surpassing Jupiter's position. Astronomers have discovered 20 new Saturn Moons, bringing the total to 82 Moons. The number of Moons is three more than Jupiter, but enough to secure Saturn the first position as the mightiest of them all. What's more, you can help name the newly discovered Saturn Moons.

Saturn Now Has Most Moons In Solar System

 

Saturn Has 20 New Moons

The 20 new Saturn Moons are small in size and measure about 3 miles/5kms across. 17 of the Moons have retrograde orbits - meaning they move around in the opposite direction to Saturn's rotation. The astronomers discovered that these will take more than three Earth years to complete one Saturn lap and are categorized as the 'Norse group' of Saturn satellites and share the same basic orbital parameters.

Among the other three Moons, one of them is 'prograde'- meaning it rotates in the same direction as the planet. This Moon has an orbital period of more than three Earth years. The other two Moons complete one lap around Saturn roughly every two years and are categorized as 'Inuit group'. The far-flung one is the most distant Saturn satellite known and may belong to the 'Gallic group'.

Saturn Now Has Most Moons In Solar System

Give A Name For Saturn's New Moons

The researchers state that each of the new satellite group further shows evidence of an impact that destroyed a larger moon that had been orbiting in that central vicinity long ago. However, the astronomers aren't certain at the moment and require more observations.

 

Further explaining about the grouping of the new Saturn Moons, Scott S. Sheppard, a faculty member at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington, DC said that this kind of "grouping of outer Moons is also seen around Jupiter, indicating violent collisions occurred between moons in the Saturnian system or with outside objects such as passing asteroids or comets." Nevertheless, you can voice your choice of names for the newly discovered Moons!

Saturn's New Moons: Discovery Team

The discovery was led by Sheppard and his team including David Jewitt of UCLA and Jan Kleyna of the University of Hawaii. The discovery was announced by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center (MPEC).

The new Moons of Saturn were observed by the Subaru Telescope at the Mauna Kea observatory in Hawaii. "Using some of the largest telescopes in the world, we are now completing the inventory of small moons around the giant planets. They play a crucial role in helping us determine how our solar system's planets formed and evolved," Sheppard said in a statement after the discovery was made.

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