Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Twelve new moons for Saturn

Filed under
Sci/Tech

Astronomers have discovered 12 new moons orbiting Saturn, bringing its number of natural satellites to 46.

The moons are small, irregular bodies - probably only about 3-7km in size - that are far from Saturn and take about two years to complete one orbit.

All but one circles Saturn in the opposite direction to its larger moons - a characteristic of captured bodies.

Jupiter is the planet with the most moons, 63 at the last count. Saturn now has 46. Uranus has 27 and Neptune 13.

The latest ones were found last year using the Subaru telescope in Hawaii. Confirmation observations were made last month using the Gemini North telescope also situated in Hawaii.

Dave Jewitt of the University of Hawaii, co-discoverer of the objects, told the BBC News website that they were found as part of a detailed survey of the outer planets in order to better understand their origin.

The newly-found satellites were probably formed in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and scattered out of it by the tug of Jupiter's gravity.

"The key question is how they became captured by Saturn. The current models devised to explain how such bodies are captured are unable to explain why they reach the orbits they do," said Dr Jewitt.

"The new discoveries should improve our knowledge of satellite systems in general and should, eventually, lead to an understanding of how such small, irregular bodies are captured by the gravity of giant planets".

"Having more satellites to study will give us more data to plug into our computer simulations that may tell us what happened", he added.

Astronomers have found that all four giant planets - Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune - possess about the same number of small irregular satellites irrespective of the mass of the planet, the orbit of the satellites, or if they were captured or formed in orbit. This observation remains unexplained.

Text and pic Source.

More in Tux Machines

XFCE 4.12 Released With Several Changes, Install In Ubuntu


xfce 4.12 released install in ubuntu

Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for UNIX-like operating systems. It aims to be fast and low on system resources, while still being visually appealing and user friendly. After two years and 10 months Xfce sees a newreleaseXfce 4.12 with so many changes.
 

Read At LinuxAndUbuntu

Linux Kernel Developer Work Spaces Video: Tejun Heo, Red Hat

Tejun Heo is a Linux kernel developer and a principal software engineer at Red Hat. In this video he takes us on a tour of his home office and answers a few questions about his work as a kernel subsystem maintainer. Read more

Xfce 4.12 Has Been Officially Released

After two years of hard work, the Xfce development team had the pleasure of announcing a few minutes ago, February 28, the immediate and general availability of the highly anticipated Xfce 4.12 desktop environment for GNU/Linux distributions. Read more

New Tizen Tools Version Released (15.01)

A new version of the Tizen development tools has been released, version 15.01, and it is available on download.tizen.org, including the following: GBS 0.23.2 MIC 0.24.4 REPA 0.3 BMAP-TOOLS 3.3 Read more