National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Saturn Surpasses Jupiter After Confirmation of 20 New Moons

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figure: Subaru Telescope
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Using the Subaru Telescope, a team led by Scott S. Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science has confirmed 20 new moons orbiting Saturn and characterized their orbits. This brings the ringed planet’s total number of known moons to 82, surpassing Jupiter, which has 79. These findings were announced on October 7, 2019, by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Electronic Circular.

When a previously unknown minor Solar System body such as an asteroid or moon is first reported, it is issued a provisional designation. After its orbit has been accurately characterized through long-term observation, the body is issued an offical number and the discovery is retroactively recognized. The objects confirmed this time were originally announced by the Carnegie Institution for Science at the time when the provisional designations were issued.

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