Monday, 21 October, 2019

20 new moons found around Saturn

Red lines encircling a ball Saturn declared most moonfluential planet after follower count reaches 82
Sandra Phillips | 12 October, 2019, 03:30

The finding was announced by the International Astronomical Union " s Minor Planet Center, cited USA Today.

A gas monster that is the second-biggest planet in our solar system, Saturn now has more known moons than some other planet. That brings Saturn's total to 82 moons, with Jupiter lagging at 79.

One of the newly discovered moons orbits in the prograde direction and has an inclination near 36 degrees, which is similar to those in the Gallic group, although it is much farther away from Saturn than any other prograde moons.

"This time, the moons must be named after giants from Norse, Gallic, or Inuit mythology", said Sheppard. Future larger telescopes will be needed to see anything smaller.

Sheppard was also part of the team that recently discovered 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter. These baby moons could have come from large parent moons that broke apart after Saturn formed.

The newly identified small moons, ranging from about 2 to 4 miles (3 to 6 km) in diameter, were detected using the Subaru telescope in Hawaii by a research team led by astronomer Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington. Of the remaining three moons, one is Earth's own while the other two are with Mars. The new discoveries are cool in and of themselves, but ultimately, it's what they tell us about the solar system's formation that motivates Sheppard's search. According to Sheppard, these small moons were able to orbit Saturn by breaking through their main moon, which is important. This Moon has an orbital period of more than three Earth years. This moves the ringed planet past Jupiter as the most "moonfluential" denizen of our solar system. For now, Saturn has the most known moons.

Others suggested names along Sheppard's guidelines, including the hunter-warrior Fionn from Irish lore and Sila, the Inuit god believed to govern life and breath.

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Sheppard said 100 even tinier moons may be orbiting Saturn, still waiting to be found.

Despite the naming guidelines in place, there are already out-of-bounds suggestions on Twitter for naming Saturn, including "Mooncricket" and "Moon Tae-il", in homage to the South Korean boy band singer.

The winners of the Jupiter moon-naming contest were Pandia, Ersa, Eirene, Philophrosyne and Eupheme, all characters from Greek or Roman mythology related to Zeus, who is called Jupiter in Roman mythology.

The competition which opened on Monday is because of shut in December.

An artist's concept of the 20 newly discovered moons orbiting Saturn.

The majority of the moons take over three years to complete an orbit around the gas giant, while two of the prograde moons, which are located closer to the planet, circle around it in just about two years. "All title submissions for this group needs to be giants from Inuit mythology".

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

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