Saturn has been confirmed to have over 100 moons, meaning it may have the most of any planet in the solar system.
Saturn has overtaken Jupiter, which has only 95 moons, according to an international team of astronomers.
The International Astronomical Union, which has the final say on orbiting bodies, agrees that 28 “moons” could now be added to Saturn’s capture, bringing the total to 117.
As the largest planets in the solar system, Saturn and Jupiter have so many moons because their masses create enough gravity to drag space rocks that orbit the sun into their own orbits.
But to be absolutely sure they have additional moons, objects must be tracked for several years before they can be classified as definitively orbiting the planet.
Saturn has been confirmed to have over 100 moons, meaning it may have the most of any planet in the solar system. Pictured: Saturn and some of its moons, taken in August 2021
Saturn’s two largest moons are Titan (left) and Rhea (right). Titan is Saturn’s largest moon and the second largest moon in the solar system after Jupiter’s Ganymede
HOW MANY MOONS DOES EACH PLANET HAVE IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM?
The University of British Columbia says it has recorded 62 new moons around Saturn, catapulting the planet back to first place in the solar system’s “moon race.”
However, some astronomers disagree with relatively small boulders being classified as moons next to huge moons such as Jupiter’s Ganymede, which is larger than the entire planet Mercury, with a diameter of more than 1,600 miles.
Gareth Williams, who recently retired from the Minor Planet Center of the International Astronomical Union, said: “Saturn’s new moons have certainly been discovered and they have certainly been confirmed, so there is no doubt about their existence and they are definitely Saturnian satellites.
“But Roman numerals, which are given to moons often named after Gaulish, Norse, and Inuit gods, aren’t immediately assigned.
“That happens after the object has been seen multiple times over a number of years, and the resulting orbit can be used to predict the moon’s future motion.”
Space expert Professor David Rothery, from the Open University, said: ‘Surveys by powerful telescopes, either ground-based or in space, are constantly finding additional small moons around both Jupiter and Saturn.
The University of British Columbia says it has recorded 62 new moons around Saturn, catapulting the planet back to first place in the solar system’s “moon race.” Pictured: 3D view of Saturn, its rings and its moons
In February, it was announced that twelve new moons have been discovered orbiting Jupiter, giving it the most moons of any planet in our solar system. This record has now been snatched by Saturn. Pictured: Jupiter and two of its largest moons, Ganymede and Europa
Jupiter’s two largest moons are Ganymede (left) and Callisto (right). Ganymede is the largest moon in the solar system and Callisto is the third largest moon in the solar system
WHAT IS A MOON?
A moon is a natural satellite that revolves around a planet.
Moons can vary in size, composition, and distance from their host planet.
Earth has one moon, while other planets in our solar system have multiple moons.
Moons can have significant effects on their host planet, such as causing tides or stabilizing the planet’s rotation.
“These are usually miles-sized chunks of comets or asteroids thrown into orbit long ago by the giant planet’s strong gravity.
“They’re not the spectacular world-sized moons with internal oceans like Europa and Enceladus.
“We’ll probably never know for sure which of Jupiter and Saturn really has the most moons, because the closer we look, the more we find, and there’s no agreement on the lower limit on the size a piece of debris orbits a planet.” planet must have. before you can call it a moon.”
Dr. Edward Ashton of Taiwan’s Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, who led the study from the University of British Columbia, said: “Tracking these moons reminds me of playing the children’s game Dot-to-Dot, because we several appearances of these moons in our data with viable orbits.
“But with about 100 different games on the same page and you don’t know which dot belongs to which puzzle.”
It’s because a study has concluded that Saturn’s rings are no older than 400 million years — much younger than the planet that formed more than four billion years ago.
Researchers used data collected from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which was destroyed in a controlled crash in 2017, on the last of cosmic dust that has accumulated around the planet’s rings, and can therefore pinpoint their age, such as telling how old a house is made by running your finger along the surfaces.
SATURN: THE BASE
Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun and the second largest planet in our solar system after Jupiter.
It is considered the ‘Jewel of the Solar System’ with its solar rings.
It’s not the only planet with rings, but none are as spectacular or complicated as Saturn’s.
Like Jupiter, Saturn is a huge ball composed mostly of hydrogen and helium, with some heavy elements.
The core extends to 60 percent of the world’s radius.
It is similar to the rest of the planet, but made of a “slush”-like material of gases, metallic liquids, rock and ice.
The most distant planet from Earth discovered with the naked eye, Saturn has been known since ancient times.
The planet is named after the Roman god of agriculture and wealth, who was also the father of Jupiter.
While planet Saturn is an unlikely place for living things, the same is not true for some of its many moons.
Home to internal oceans, satellites like Enceladus and Titan could potentially support life.
Facts and numbers
Distance to sun: 1.434 billion kilometers
Orbit time: 29 years
Surface: 42.7 billion km²
Ray: 58,232 kilometers
Mass: 5.683 × 10^26 kg (95.16 M⊕)
Length of the day: 0d 10h 42m
Mane: 117 with formal designations; countless additional moonlets