Astronomers have spotted one more 20 moons orbiting Saturn, bringing its total to a whopping 82.
That’s 3 even more satellites than Jupiter, the largest world in the Solar System.
Each of the brand-new discoveries, unveiled Monday by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center, has to do with 3 miles in size.
Seventeen of them orbit the planet “in reverse” (in a backward instruction), while the various other 3 relocate prograde.
A pair of forward-facing bodies, which rest near Saturn, can finish an orbit in concerning 2 years; the more distant retrograde moons (along with that last prograde satellite) take more than three years to move once around the world.
“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,” the Carnegie Institute for Science’s Scott Sheppard said in a statement.
The outer moons appear to be organized right into three distinctive clusters, based on the “dispositions of the angles” at which they revolve around the ringed world.
Researchers believe some of these orbs are the busted remnants of once-larger parent moons.
Among the newly found backward haul is the furthest known Saturnian moon.
“In the Solar System’s youth, the Sun was surrounded by a rotating disk of gas and dust from which the planets were born,” Sheppard explained. “It is believed that a similar gas-and-dust disk surrounded Saturn during its formation.
“The fact that these newly discovered moons were able to continue orbiting Saturn after their parent moons broke apart,” he continued, “indicates that these collisions occurred after the planet-formation process was mostly complete and the disks were no longer a factor.”
Saturn’s additional satellites were found by Sheppard, David Jewitt of UCLA, as well as Jan Kleyna from the University of Hawai’i using the Subaru telescope atop Mauna Kea volcano in Hawai’i.
Earlier this year, the Carnegie Institute held a competition to name five Jovian moons found in 2018 by Sheppard.
Now it needs your help again to name all 20 Saturnian planetoids.