Published: Sat, October 12, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Discovery of 20 new moons gives Saturn a solar system record

Discovery of 20 new moons gives Saturn a solar system record

The Carnegie Institute for Science has also launched an online competition for naming five of the newly discovered moons. "They play an important function in serving to us decide how our solar system's planets formed and evolved". That brings Saturn's total to 82 moons, with Jupiter lagging at 79. By contrast, Saturn's 20 new moons are minuscule, each barely 3 miles (5 kilometers) in diameter.

"Using some of the largest telescopes in the world, we are now completing the inventory of small moons around the giant planets", Sheppard explains. Future greater telescopes shall be wanted to acknowledge something else smaller. A team of scientists led by Scott S. Sheppard at the Carnegie Institution for Science has confirmed their discovery of twenty (!) additional moons orbiting Saturn. These baby moons may have come from larger parent moons that broke apart right after Saturn formed. "Using some of the world's largest telescopes, we are now completing the inventory of small moons around giant planets", said Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institute for Science and lead actor in this research.

Artist's conception of the 20 newly discovered moons orbiting Saturn, showing the three groupings and direction of orbit. Currently, astronomers are "only able to find moons that are a a few miles in size around Saturn because the planet is so far away", he said.

For your chance to name one of Saturn's moons, tweet your idea at @SaturnLunacy, using the hashtag #NameSaturnsMoons, along with an explanation for why you picked the name you did. This Moon has an orbital period of more than three Earth years.

Jupiter, the gas giant, the fifth planet of the solar system, and the king of planets is no longer the king of the moons. "This time, the moons must be named after giants from Norse, Gallic, or Inuit mythology".

"So seeing that Saturn has more moons even though it is harder to find them, shows just how many moons Saturn has collected over time", he wrote in an email.

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The new moons are still unnamed.

Last summer, a team of astronomers noted the presence of 12 new satellites around Jupiter. The Carnegie Institution had a moon-naming contest for them; some other is deliberate now for Saturn's fresh moons.

Two of the prograde moons are closer to the planet and take about two years to travel once around Saturn.

Of the 20 new moons, 17 are orbiting the moon "backwards", that is, in a direction opposite to the planet's motion.

"I was pretty excited about tonight, as I kind of love that stuff to lookup close to the Moon and the planets", described one of the students from the Computer Science program. Earlier this year, they had a similar contest to name five moons of Jupiter that were discovered by Shepard in July, 2018. The outermost group, which includes two of the pro-grade moons, has an orbit angled at 46 degrees and are named after Inuit mythology.

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