Within our solar system, Saturn has recently become the undisputed moon king. In the past, the title was held by Jupiter, which had 79 moons, but a team of researchers has announced the discovery of 20 new moons around Saturn, bringing the total to 82.
The discovery was made with the help of the advanced Subaru telescope, which is located in Hawaii, and the information was collected over several years. A selection of computer models complemented the work of the scientists, allowing them to identify new moons and to track their orbits.
It is important to note that the new moons are quite small, with an average size of kilometers. New technology made the possible discovery thanks to more powerful telescopes and additional computing power.
Saturn is an interesting planet since it is mainly composed of a mixture of hydrogen and helium. It was classified as the second-largest planet within the boundaries of our solar system (only Jupiter is larger), measuring almost 116,000 kilometers across.
One of the moons is located at almost 25 million kilometers away from the planet, a trait which quite interesting since it is the farthest moon of the planet. The distance is huge in comparison to the span between the Earth and the moon, which is approximately 386,000 million kilometers away from the planet.
According to initial data, many of the moons which were observed by the researchers may have formed after larger moons were destroyed. The bigger ones may have disappeared after crashing into other moons or due to a large number of asteroids and comets which crashed into them.
By harnessing the new information the researchers argue that the early days of the solar system were filled with chaotic events as objects flew randomly in the void. Observations of the orbits followed by the moons can offer important data about their origin and the state of the universe when they formed.