A team of astronomers led by Carnegie’s Scott S. Sheppard has recently found 20 new moons around Saturn. These new moons bring the total number to 82, which makes Saturn the mooniest planet in the solar system. What’s more, you can help name the new ones!

With these new moons, the ringed planet surpassed Jupiter, which has 79 known moons.

Hubble's Latest Portrait of Saturn (June 20, 2019)
On June 20, 2019, Hubble Space Telescope snapped this beautiful portrait of Saturn and its rings at the ringed planet’s closest approach to Earth. The image was published on September 12, 2019. Image: NASA

According to the Carnegie Science website, the new moons were discovered using the Subaru telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

Now Saturn has a total of 82 moons with confirmed orbits. They range from tiny moonlets less than a kilometer across to the enormous Titan, which has a diameter of 5,149.5 km / 3200 miles (larger than the planet Mercury, which has a diameter of 4,879.4 km / 3,032 miles).

According to Scott Sheppard, there are at least 100 even tinier moons that may be orbiting Saturn, still waiting to be found.

Moons of Saturn: Saturn's 20 new moons - artist conception
Moons of Saturn: Artist’s conception of the 20 newly discovered moons orbiting Saturn. These discoveries bring the planet’s total moon count to 82, surpassing Jupiter, which has 79 confirmed moons, for the most in our Solar System. Studying these moons can reveal information about their formation and about the conditions around Saturn at the time. The illustration is courtesy of the Carnegie Institution for Science. (Saturn image is courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute. Starry background courtesy of Paolo Sartorio/Shutterstock.)

The Carnegie Science website also hosted an online contest to name five of these new moons. You can help name them! The contest has been launched on October 7 and will be concluded on December 6, 2019.

To submit, you can simply tweet your suggested moon name to @SaturnLunacy and tell why you picked it.

Details about how the International Astronomical Union names astronomical objects can be found on the International Astronomical Union website.

Moons of Saturn: The 20 new moons discovered around Saturn are gonna need some names and Carnegie Science is turning to you guys for help!


M. Özgür Nevres

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