Saturn is our solar system’s new moon king

These discoveries bring the planet's total moon count to 82, surpassing Jupiter for the most in our solar system. The discovery was revealed Monday by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center, reports Carnegie Science.

The team behind the discovery includes Scott Sheppard from the Carnegie Institution for Science, David Jewitt of UCLA, and Jan Kleyna from the University of Hawaii.

The new moons were discovered using the Subaru telescope in Hawaii. In the release, Sheppard explains that these moons couldn't have been created in Saturn's youth, when a large rotating disc of gas and debris circled the planet.

To begin with, each of the 20 newly discovered moons of Saturn is about 5 kilometres (3 miles) in diameter, according to the findings of the research. out of this, as many as 17 moons orbit the ringed planet backwards, in other words, in the direction opposite to Saturn's rotation, while the other three moons rotate in the same direction as that of the planet.

Two of the newly discovered prograde moons fit into a group of outer moons with inclinations of about 46 degrees called the Inuit group. Sheppard said Jupiter was the planet with most known moons since the late 1990s, according to BBC News.

Bottom line: Astronomers have found 20 new moons orbiting Saturn, bringing the planet's total number of moons to 82. The other two prograde moons are closer to Saturn and take around two years to complete their orbit.

Seventeen of Saturn's new moons orbit the planet in the opposite, or retrograde, direction. Names must fall into one of three categories based on the particular clusters the new moons were found in. 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). One of the newly discovered retrograde moons is the farthest known moon around Saturn.

An artist's concept of the 20 newly discovered moons orbiting Saturn. Image via the Carnegie Institution for Science. The Inuit moons are likely remnants of a large moon or object that disintegrated into smaller fragments a long time ago. But we all know one of those moons would be named Moony McMoonface if write-in entries were allowed. All name submissions for this group must be giants from Norse mythology. The Norse group, like the Inuit group, is believed to have originated from a much larger object that broke up into smaller pieces, likely from a collision. "There's so many of these moons now, there's nearly guaranteed to be one of these moons somewhere near where the spacecraft enters the Jupiter or Saturn environment".

"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.

"They play a crucial role in helping us determine how our solar system " s planets formed and evolved", Sheppard continued.

Then how many moons does Jupiter have?

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