Monday, 14 October, 2019

New Moons Discovered Orbiting Saturn

Saturn surpasses Jupiter after the discovery of 20 new moons Saturn overtakes Jupiter as planet with most moons
Elijah Vega | 08 October, 2019, 12:42

Researchers say Saturn has overtaken Jupiter as the planet in our solar system with the most number of moons.

Saturn has taken over from Jupiter as host to the most moons in the solar system after astronomers spotted 20 more lumps of rock orbiting the ringed planet.

As you might recall from previous year, Sheppard was involved in the discovery of 12 additional moons around Jupiter, bring the Jovian giant's total to 79.

The discovery was announced earlier today (Monday, Oct. 7th) by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center (MPEC).

"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", Sheppard explained in the statement.

Move over Jupiter; Saturn is the new moon king.

All of these moons are around 5 km (3 mi) wide, and one of them is the most distant moon circling Saturn.

Seventeen of them orbit the planet backwards, or in a retrograde direction, according to the Carnegie Institution for Science's Scott Sheppard, who led the discovery team.

A team of astronomers has discovered 20 new moons orbiting Saturn.

"Using some of the largest telescopes in the world, we are now completing the inventory of small moons around the giant planets", said Dr Sheppard.

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By studying these small moons and their interactions with our solar system's large planets, astronomers can answer questions about how these worlds were formed and how they've evolved.

The Carnegie Institution for Science has now launched a public moon-naming competition for the newly discovered moons.

The new Gallic moon orbits much farther away than its companions though, suggested that something has pulled it outward, or that it didn't come from the same collision as the other moons at all. The IAU lists 79 Jovian moons, including the dozen newbies that Sheppard and his colleagues reported past year. It's thought these baby moons may have come from larger parent moons that broke apart right after Saturn formed.

Welcome, new moons! We look forward to learning more about you.

The other prograde moon has an orbital inclination close to 36°, which is similar to other moons in the Gallic group.

The team of scientists have also tried to categorize the moons by their inclinations; they can broadly be classified into three different clusters: the Inuit, Norse, and Gallic groups. The previously unknown moon (highlighted by orange bars) moves against a backdrop of stars and galaxies that appear still due to their distance.

Shortly after the Sun was born of the nebula's gas and dust, the remaining material fell into a disk that gradually accreted to form the planets. So they were captured into orbits around the planet rather than falling into the planet.

Five of those moons (Pandia, Ersa, Eirene, Philophrosyne and Eupheme) won their names by virtue of an online contest that met with the IAU's approval.

The names have to be appropriate to the category of the moon: For the two moons of the Inuit group, names should refer to giants from Inuit mythology. Two of the new prograde moons appear to belong to a group that swings around Saturn at an angle of about 46 degrees. And even if it does have fewer satellites than Saturn, it will always have the most inhospitable radiation environment!

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