On Monday, International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center announced that astronomers have discovered 20 new moons around Saturn which makes it a planet with the most number of moons in the solar system.
Saturn now it has a total of 82 moons. The discovery has also put Saturn ahead of Jupiter which has around 79 moons.
It is interesting to note that Jupiter still has the largest moon in the solar system called Ganymede, which is almost half the size of the Earth. By contrast, Saturn’s 20 new moons are minuscule, each barely 5km (3 miles) in diameter.
According to the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Scott Sheppard, out of 20, around 17 orbits the planet backward. The new moons were discovered using the Subaru telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
Sheppard is sure that there could be many other moons waiting to be discovered. “Using some of the largest telescopes in the world, we are now completing the inventory of small moons around the giant planets,” said Sheppard adding, “They play a crucial role in helping us determine how our Solar System’s planets formed and evolved.”
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17 November, 2019