Explained: Which planet has how many moons?

  • Explained: Which planet has how many moons?

Explained: Which planet has how many moons?

In many ways, Earth's moon is the flawless introduction to teach humanity some very basic things about how the universe works.

A contest earlier this year to name five of Jupiter's moons was such a success that it inspired the current contest for Saturn's moons, according to Sheppard.

The newly discovered moons of Saturn are about 5 km each in diameter. It was confirmed by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Centre, said a report by The Weather Channel.

With its new moon count, the ringed planet clocks in at 82 moons, surpassing Jupiter, which has 79 moons orbiting it, as the planet in our solar system with the most moons. By contrast, Earth's moon is over 2,158 miles wide. Carnegie held a public contest to name five of those satellites, this time around it's soliciting entries for all 20 newly discovered moons around Saturn.

"This kind of grouping of outer moons is also seen around Jupiter, indicating violent collisions occurred between moons in the Saturnian system or with outside objects such as passing asteroids or comets", said Sheppard.

Scientists discovered the new moons using the Subaru telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Image: Saturn image is courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute. "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".

"Name all those new Saturn moons after the Avengers", user @twistedSouffle tweeted on Wednesday.

Seventeen of them orbit the planet backwards, or in a retrograde direction, according to the Carnegie Institution for Science's Scott Sheppard, who led the discovery team. 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.

"Finding new moons of the planets is hard because they are generally very faint and thus hard to track year to year in order to get reliable orbits for them", Sheppard wrote in an email to Gizmodo.

The new moons were slotted into three distinct categories depending on the angles at which they orbit around Saturn. Names must fall into one of three categories based on the particular clusters the new moons were found in. The other 17 moons must be named after giants from Norse mythology, while one ought to be named after a giant from the Gallic mythology. They're all at roughly the same distance from the planet, putting them in the Norse group of moons.

Only Jupiter, the fifth planet from the sun, is larger. It is believed that a similar gas-and-dust disk surrounded Saturn during its formation.

People from all over the world can be a part of this naming contest that was thrown open on October 7 and will go on till December 6. Saturn's moons are named for mythological giants, and which mythology depends on which group the moon belongs to.