Scientists Just Discovered 20 Previously Unknown Moons Orbiting Saturn

Saturn declared most moonfluential planet after follower count reaches 82

Saturn declared most moonfluential planet after follower count reaches 82

The planet now has the most moons, surpassing Jupiter's 79 moons.

The discovery was announced this week by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center. "They play an important function in serving to us decide how our solar system's planets formed and evolved".

"I was so thrilled with the amount of public engagement over the Jupiter moon-naming contest that we've made a decision to do another one to name these newly discovered Saturnian moons", Sheppard said.

While some of these baby moons may stay hidden for the moment, Sheppard said that they might see them if astronomers use a larger and more powerful telescope. Future greater telescopes shall be wanted to acknowledge something else smaller.

Astronomers have pretty much completed the inventory of moons as small as 3 miles (5 kilometers) around Saturn and 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) around Jupiter, according to Sheppard.

The moons of Saturn, which is 82 in total, are divided into three groups, which are clustered by the angle at which they orbit the planet.

Scientists think each of those groups may have come from a larger moon that broke apart into smaller bodies. "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.

The Inuit group, on the other hand, is orbiting in the same directions.

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Gallic groups are the farthest moons, which also take at least three years to finish revolving around the planet.

"These moons are the remnants of the objects that helped make the planets, so by studying them, we're studying about what the planets fashioned from", Sheppard wrote. American Mensa, an organization for people who score in the top 2 percent on the standardized intelligence test, suggested the name "Moony McMoonface" in reference to an online submarine-naming competition gone gloriously wrong, but given the criteria, that probably won't happen. Two of the prograde moons require around two years to make a complete orbit of the gas giant, while the remaining 18 moons require more than three years to make a single orbit (our Moon requires 27 days to make a complete orbit around Earth).

Jupiter, the gas giant, the fifth planet of the solar system, and the king of planets is no longer the king of the moons. For now, Saturn has basically the most known moons.

"Studying the orbits of these moons can reveal their origins, as well as information about the conditions surrounding Saturn at the time of its formation", Sheppard said. Most of the other distant new moons take about three years to complete on orbit. The institution held a challenge to name five of those Jovian moons and is holding a comparable challenge to name every one of the 20 of Saturn's newly discovered moons.

Two of the new Saturnian moons, shown between the yellow crosshairs. But the newly discovered moon is farther out than the others.

Seventeen of the newly discovered moons are retrograde moons in the Norse group.

Two of the prograde moons are located in a cluster of previously discovered moons with 46 degree inclinations called the Inuit group, named after characters in Inuit mythology.

The contest which opened on Monday is due to close in December.

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