Out of this World
Take that, Jupiter.
Scientists from the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center announced on Monday that 20 new moons have been discovered around Saturn, bringing its total number of moons up to 82. Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, has 79 moons, including Ganymede, which is nearly half the size of Earth. Saturn's newly-found moons are all tiny, no bigger than three miles in diameter.
"It was fun to find that Saturn is the true moon king," Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institute for Science, told The Associated Press. The moons were spotted this summer via a telescope in Hawaii, and it is believed there could be roughly 100 additional minuscule moons that have yet to be discovered.
"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," Sheppard said. He added that larger telescopes will need to be built in order to see any moons smaller than one mile across.