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Last Updated : Oct 10, 2019 04:07 PM IST | Source:

Saturn found to have more Moons than Jupiter and you have a chance to name them

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.

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Saturn (Wikimedia)
Saturn (Wikimedia)

American scientist Scott Sheppard announced this week that his team at the Carnegie Institution of Science have discovered 20 new natural satellites of the Saturn. The team, which also included David Jewitt of the University of California and Jan Kleyna of the University of Hawaii, used Subaru telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii to make this discovery.

Their findings have earned Saturn the top spot among planets in this solar system, for having the maximum number of moons. It was confirmed by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Centre, said a report by The Weather Channel.

Earlier, it was believed that Jupiter has the maximum number of permanent natural satellites. As of now, Saturn has 82 moons around it, while Jupiter has only 79. It probably took the scientific community so long to discover the twenty-odd moons circling Saturn is because of the great distance of the planet from the Earth.


Scientists are now claiming to have finally completed preparing the list of satellites as small as 5-km diameter around Saturn and 1.6 km around Jupiter. These small satellites are believed to be born out of bigger moons while the Saturn was taking shape.

Studying the formation of these tiny moons may reportedly enhance our understanding of the formation of the solar system. Astronomer Sheppard said: “Studying the orbits of these moons can reveal their origins, as well as information about the conditions surrounding Saturn at the time of its formation.”

Also, interestingly, only three of the new moons orbit Saturn in the same direction as it spins, the rest are retrograde and spin in the opposite direction.

After making this discovery, the institute promptly threw open a contest to name the twenty new-found celestial bodies. 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.

Anybody who wishes to participate in the process will have to tweet the suggestions to @SaturnLunacy, explaining why they want to go with that particular name. The hashtag to be used for all such posts is #NameSaturnMoons.

However, one must remember, two of these moons ought to be named after characters of the Inuit mythology, given they belong to the Inuit group. 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.

Notably, a similar such contest was held earlier this year, between the months of February and April, to name the 12 new moons of Jupiter that had been discovered.

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First Published on Oct 10, 2019 04:07 pm
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