Science

Saturn overtakes Jupiter as planet with most moons

Saturn overtakes Jupiter as planet with most moons”

"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.

The discovery of 20 previously unknown moons around Saturn has helped the ring planet surpass all others in our solar system, according to the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center.

The other 17 new moons are retrograde moons - unlike the Inuit and Norse moons, they travel in the opposite direction to Saturn's rotation. "The fact that these newly discovered moons were able to continue orbiting Saturn after their parent moons broke apart indicates that these collisions occurred after the planet-formation process was mostly complete and the disks were no longer a factor". They're so far from Saturn that it takes two to three years to complete a single orbit. And by looking at their inclinations, astronomers suspect that these moons could have been part of a much larger moon that broke apart long ago.

The planet - the largest in the solar system - is closer to Earth than Saturn, making its moons much easier to spot with a less powerful telescope.

"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. Saturn image courtesy of NASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute. If these tiny moons had to plow through all that material on their way around Saturn, friction would have sapped their speed and sent them spiraling into the planet.

One last one (in green) is an "oddball", just like Jupiter's "Valetudo".

Dr Sheppard said more moons were probably waiting to be found around Saturn. The two new moons, will be given names from Inuit mythology.

Scientists were able to locate the new moons thanks to more robust computing power and better algorithms for tracking faint distant objects, Sheppard said. "If an asteroid happens to be passing by, you can't capture it today because you can't dissipate its energy", Dr Sheppard told BBC News. Sorry, but Saturn McSaturnFace won't be allowed, as the names have to conform to their mythological groupings, along with other naming conventions. The previously unknown moon (highlighted by orange bars) moves against a backdrop of stars and galaxies that appear still due to their distance.

The newly reported discoveries mean Jupiter is back in the No. 2 position when it comes to tallies of known moons. The details of the contest and instructions onhow to take part can be found here.

"It's exciting to find them", said Scott Sheppard, an astronomer who led the work at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC.

However, it's not just a quirky new find or something topic students will have to learn - learning more about these moons could teach us something new about the evolution of their host planets, and the solar system as a whole.

Two of the moons are part of a group of moons called the Inuit group, whose original members were discovered by Canadian astronomers and named by team member John Kavelaars, now at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, and Inuit storyteller and children's author Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak. And even if it does have fewer satellites than Saturn, it will always have the most inhospitable radiation environment!



Like this

loading...
loading...

Latest


08 October 2019
Leaders gather in capital for potentially pivotal English debate
Scheer, in Ottawa to promise free admission to Canada's national museums, breathed nary a word about it. The leaders will even face off in French, Canada's different official language, on Thursday.

08 October 2019
Miracle puppy rescued after a month trapped in rubble from Cyclone Dorian
Other rescue initiatives will see the use of these drones to retrieve trapped and injured people following natural disasters. Scott said they were providing the pup with medical and emotional support, and were hopeful for a full recovery.

08 October 2019
Unilever to halve use of new plastic
It has also introduced detectable pigment in its black plastics for brands including Aex and TRESemme. We are also committed to ensuring all our plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable.

08 October 2019
Alex Trebek on pancreatic cancer treatment: ‘I’m not afraid of dying’
While undergoing the latest round of chemo, Trebek has continued to host the beloved game show, despite the physical difficulties. Trebek also said in the interview he isn't afraid of dying, and he has lived a full life.

08 October 2019
'Friends' co-stars reunite for a rare selfie, and it's perfection
The snap posted on Instagram shows the trio posing for a selfie together. "A rare night and I love it", Cox captioned the photo . David Schwimmer added to the sentiments with: "Celebrating a Thursday night 25 years ago".

08 October 2019
Married female assistant principal 'repeatedly had sex with student'
Channel 9 reported that according to investigators, Rothwell began tutoring the victim last school year. Gaston County jail records show that Rothwell faces six felony counts of sex offenses with a student.

08 October 2019
Murray Climbs over 200 Places as Djokovic Stays Top in ATP Rankings
Stefanos Tsitsipas took the opening set in his first final since May, but the Greek had no answer to Dominic Thiem's comeback in Beijing .

07 October 2019
Nevada wildlife officials warn hunters about ‘zombie’ deer
Causing symptoms such as lack of fear of humans, lethargy and emaciation, it can destroy deer and elk populations. Since then, there were no recurrences of the illness in the impart.

07 October 2019
Meghan Markle's Father Tells Why He Released Letter She Sent Him
Add Royal Family as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Royal Family news, video, and analysis from ABC News. We feel stressed, low, anxious and have trouble sleeping. "There are things we can do", says Meghan .

07 October 2019
AMD launches new Radeon RX 5500 and Radeon RX 5500M graphics cards
Whereas the laptop variant's base clock is expected to be up to 1.4 GHz and its boost clock is said to touch 1.6 GHz. The AMD Radeon RX 5500 series provides up to 37 percent faster performance than competing chips, according to AMD .