There is a new king of moons in the Solar System!
Scientists recently discovered 20 new moons of the planet with rings, Saturn. This took the total number of moons of Saturn to 82, surpassing the planet Jupiter, which has 79 moons.
Scott Sheppard, an astronomer from the Carnegie Institute of Science, and his team used the Subaru telescope in Hawaii to spot the moons. These new moons are all similar in size and span around three miles across. Out of the 20, 17 have a retrograde orbit of Saturn. This means that they orbit around the planet in the opposite direction to Saturn’s rotation.
“Using some of the largest telescopes in the world, we are now completing the inventory of small moons around the giant planets,” Sheppard added. “They play a crucial role in helping us determine how our solar system’s planets formed and evolved.”
The announcement came from the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center.
However, what is more exciting is that you can help name these moons! Can’t believe this? Read on for more!
Sheppard had, last year, discovered a handful of moons of Jupiter and the Carnegie Institution had started off a public contest to name the moons. Overwhelmed with the response received, Sheppard has another naming contest for these moons!
“I was so thrilled with the amount of public engagement over the Jupiter moon-naming contest that we’ve decided to do another one to name these newly discovered Saturnian moons,” Sheppard said. “This time, the moons must be named after giants from Norse, Gallic or Inuit mythology.”
All you have to do to enter the contest is tweet the name that you have selected to @SaturnLunacy with a reason for why you have selected that name. Also, do include the hashtag #NameSaturnsMoons.
Hi friends! I’m back with a new handle, because we’ve got a whopping 20 newly discovered moons of Saturn to name. Please help us! https://t.co/DisqBWBZ0D
— NameSaturn’sMoons (@SaturnLunacy) October 7, 2019
Read more details about the contest here.