[Science] We’ve discovered 20 more moons of Saturn – and you can help name them – AI

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[Science] We’ve discovered 20 more moons of Saturn – and you can help name them – AI


By Leah Crane Saturn with five of the moons we already knew aboutNASA-JPL/Caltech Saturn is the solar system’s new moon champion. The discovery of 20 additional satellites means the ringed giant has surpassed Jupiter as the planet with the most known moons, having a total of 82 to Jupiter’s 79. All the new moons are relatively small, at about 5 kilometres across. They were spotted using the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii by a team led by Scott Sheppard at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC. Only three of the 20 moons are prograde, meaning they orbit Saturn in the same direction as the planet spins. The rest travel in the opposite, or retrograde, direction. One of these has the widest orbit of any of Saturn’s known moons. Advertisement Read more: Forgotten giants: Why the time is ripe to revisit Uranus and Neptune Most of the moons seem to be clustered in two groups, each of which probably came from a parent moon that was smashed apart long ago. Two of the prograde moons have the tightest orbits of the new haul, taking about two years to complete an orbit. All the others take more than three years. “We are now completing the inventory of small moons around the giant planets,” Sheppard said in a press release. “They play a crucial role in helping us determine how our solar system’s planets formed and evolved.” As we find more of these relatively small moons, we understand more about the larger parent moons that orbited earlier in our solar system’s history. That can help us figure out how the planets formed and what their environments were like back then. There is now a competition to name the moons, with specific rules. Two of the moons must be named after giants from Inuit mythology. Another 17 must be named after giants from Norse mythology. And one must be named after a giant from Gallic mythology. People have already been tweeting ideas: @SaturnLunacy For the Norse moon group, I propose the name of the frost giant who started the world, Ymir. Since the discovery of these moons marks a new chapter within human history, as the birth of Ymir once did, I think this name would be most appropriate. pic.twitter.com/yM08WjW8DJ — Joaquin (@Joaquin_DBS) October 9, 2019 Hello @SaturnLunacy ! I have an idea for a name of the Celtic Group of moons : Elatha, the king of Fomorians, a race of Giants. He was also the Moon God according to the imagery surrounding him. Thank you ! #NameSaturnsMoons pic.twitter.com/nq2bFLkWkd — Schattawa Ⓥ (@Schattawa) October 9, 2019 For the Inuit group of satellites I suggest Surtr. I learned about him from the Marvel movie Thor Ragnarok. He is known for having a huge battle against Freya and destroying everything in a fiery blaze. @SaturnLunacy pic.twitter.com/oEMJxcEBWm — Bobby (@Bobersons2) October 9, 2019     More on these topics: Saturn moons