Saturn wins the prize for the Solar System

Saturn wins the prize for the Solar System The number of moons around Saturn has increased by 62, bringing the total to 145, exceeding Jupiter’s total of 95. The worldwide scientific team, lead by Edward Ashton, discovered moons as small as 1.5 miles in diameter using a method known as “shift and stack.” The discoveries might shed light on the trajectory of collisions within Saturn’s orbit.

Saturn wins the prize for the Solar System Saturn currently has the most moons, Jupiter is the King, Earth is brimming with life, Venus is a strange, spacecraft-crushing hellhole. Again.
For a period, Jupiter held the record for the planet with the most moons. However, Saturn has surpassed Jupiter as the planet with the most naturally occurring satellites and recovered the top rank with the finding of 62 additional moons.

Saturn wins the prize for the Solar System

Saturn now has 145 moons, which is 50 more than Jupiter. The majority of moons are being contested by the two. Jupiter currently has 95 moons (astronomers reported 12 new ones in February), but as observers become more adept at finding tiny, erratic moons, Jupiter’s total moon population may increase once more. Despite having more than 100 moons, Saturn is now the only planet.

Saturn wins the prize for the Solar System The moons were located by an international group of scientists. The study’s principal investigator was Edward Ashton, a post-doc at Taiwan’s Academia Sonica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics. The results will be made public in a few months.

The study introduces a brand-new approach to finding moons for Saturn that hasn’t yet been applied to Neptune or Uranus.

Saturn wins the prize for the Solar System Because we need to link the various ways these moons appear in our data with a workable orbit, Edward Ashton says that tracking these moons reminds him of the children’s Dot-to-Dot is a game. There are roughly 100 distinct games on the same page, and you can’t tell which dot goes with which problem, he says.

To discover the moons, the researchers employed a method known as shift and stack. By adjusting a series of sequential photos at the speed that the moon is travelling across the sky, it may detect smaller, fainter moons. The photos are then stacked to consolidate data, enhancing the signals from the moons. Ashton and his associates made use of observational data from the Mauna Kea-based Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. Between 2019 and 2021, they captured a series of photos over three-hour intervals, and they found moons as tiny as 2.5 km (1.5 miles).

When identifying new moons, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) takes care. A single observation doesn’t satisfy the requirement because it can just be an asteroid passing past. Instead, before the IAU classifies an object as a moon, it must be tracked throughout time. In the past, some new moons were sighted, but not enough to be certain.
All 62 of the new moons are erratic moons. Their orbits are erratic, which means they are generally eccentric or retrograde, far away, and tilted. These particles may have been grabbed by Saturn’s gravitational pull in the distant past, according to astronomers.

Four of the new moons’ orbital paths around Saturn (black circle in the centre) from 2019 to 2021 are seen in this figure. Each moon’s observed position is indicated by a coloured dot, and the orbit connecting them is depicted by a dashed line. University of British Columbia, credit

Based on their orbital tilt, moons frequently clump together in coordinated orbits. The Inuit, the Gallic, and the Norse groups of moons on Saturn, with the Norse group being the largest, are all present. One of these groupings includes every new moon.

Many of Saturn’s moon groupings, according to astronomers, are the products of collisions between moons that were initially captured. Scientists seek to reconstruct the timeline of the impacts by discovering new moons of the gas giant.

One of the scientists that discovered the new moons is Driblet Goldman is an academic at the University of British Columbia who specializes in astronomy and astrophysics.
According to Gleeman, there is growing evidence that a medium-sized moon orbiting Saturn backwards was torn apart some 100 million years ago as one approaches the limits of current telescope technology.

In 2021, a paper was written by Gladman, Ashton, and colleague Matthew Beaudoin that provided proof of that collision. In that study, they calculated that Saturn contains 150 (plus or minus 30) moons, the smallest of which has a diameter of 2.8 km (1.7 miles). A relatively recent (a few hundred Myr ago) collisional event in Saturn’s retrograde irregular population, according to them, is indicated by the moons’ size distribution.

Astronomers who are intrigued about the universe are still drawn to Saturn’s moons. They range in size from the colossal Titan, which is the Solar System’s second-largest moon and larger than the planet Mercury, to swarms of tiny moonlets. There may be many more of these moonlets hidden within its ring system, according to astronomers. Additionally, there might be hundreds more undiscovered kilometer-sized objects orbiting the gas giant.

Astronomers who are intrigued about the universe are still drawn to Saturn’s moons. They range in size from the colossal Titan, which is the Solar System’s second-largest moon and larger than the planet Mercury, to swarms of tiny moonlets. There may be many more of these moonlets hidden within its ring system, according to astronomers. Additionally, there might be hundreds more undiscovered kilometer-sized objects orbiting the gas giant.

Reference

https://ualr.edu/tv/2017/06/01/june-feature-saturn/

https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/cassini/science/saturn/

https://fivtech.com/the-price-of-petrol-and-diesel-is-revised/

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