With the discovery of 20 new moons, the ringed planet Saturn now has a total of 82 moons against Jupiter's 79, declared by researchers at The International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center. About the Study:
- The Researchers used a telescope in Hawaii to spot Saturn’s 20 new moons over the summer.
- About 100 even tinier moons may be orbiting Saturn, still waiting to be found to these researchers.
- Astronomers have completed the inventory of moons as small as 5 kilometers around Saturn and 1.6 kilometers around Jupiter.
- It’s harder spotting mini-moons around Saturn than Jupiter. So seeing that Saturn has more moons even though it is harder to find them. These baby moons may have come from larger parent moons that broke apart right after Saturn formed.
- Seventeen of Saturn’s new moons orbit the planet in the opposite, or retrograde, direction. The other three circles in the same direction that Saturn rotates. They’re so far from Saturn that it takes two to three years to complete a single orbit.
- These moons are the remnants of the objects that helped form the planets, so by studying them, we are learning about what the planets formed from.
- The biggest planet Jupiter still has the biggest moon in our solar system. Jupiter’s Ganymede is almost half the size of Earth. By contrast, Saturn’s 20 new moons are minuscule, each barely 5km in diameter.
Jupiter Natural Satellites:
- Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System.
- It is a gas giant with a mass one-thousandth that of the Sun, but two-and-a-half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined.
- Jupiter is primarily composed of hydrogen with a quarter of its mass being helium, though helium comprises only about a tenth of the number of molecules.
- It may also have a rocky core of heavier elements, but like the other giant planets, Jupiter lacks a well-defined solid surface.
- Jupiter has 79 known natural satellites.
- Of these, 63 are less than 10 kilometers in diameter and have only been discovered since 1975.
- The four largest moons of the planet Jupiter known as the "Galilean moons", are Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.
Saturn Natural satellites:
- Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System, after Jupiter.
- It is a gas giant with an average radius of about nine times that of Earth. It has only one-eighth the average density of Earth; however, with its larger volume, Saturn is over 95 times more massive.
- Saturn's interior is most likely composed of a core of iron-nickel and rock (silicon and oxygen compounds).
- This core is surrounded by a deep layer of metallic hydrogen, an intermediate layer of liquid hydrogen and liquid helium, and finally a gaseous outer layer.
- Saturn has a pale yellow shade due to ammonia crystals in its upper atmosphere.
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- Saturn has 82 known moons, 53 of which have formal names.
- Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, comprises more than 90% of the mass in orbit around Saturn, including the rings.
- Rhea is Saturn's second-largest moon. Evidence of a tenuous atmosphere also found in the Saturn natural satellite.
- In addition, there is evidence of dozens to hundreds of moonlets with diameters of 40–500 meters in Saturn's rings, which are not considered to be true moons.