which planet has the most moons

Saturn has reclaimed its position as the planet with the highest number of moons in our solar system, regaining the title from its gas giant counterpart, Jupiter, just a few months after being surpassed.

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which planet has the most moons

This change in status is a result of the recent discovery of 62 additional moons orbiting Saturn, which brings its official count to an impressive 145. In comparison, Jupiter, which had added 12 new moons to its count earlier this year, currently stands at 95 moons officially recognized by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

Professor Brett Gladman, an astronomer from the University of British Columbia involved in the observations, remarked, "Saturn not only has almost doubled its number of moons, but it now boasts more moons than all the other planets in our solar system combined."

These newly discovered moons are presently identified using alphanumeric designations, but they will eventually be given names inspired by Gallic, Norse, and Canadian Inuit gods, following the traditional nomenclature for Saturn's moons. Prof. Gladman mentioned that his team plans to collaborate with Inuit elders to propose names that can be submitted to the IAU for approval.

Many of these newfound celestial objects are believed to be remnants of a relatively recent collision between moons, resulting in the fragmentation of a larger moon and the dispersion of its "offspring" into orbit around Saturn.

While there is a possibility that Jupiter may momentarily surpass Saturn in the future, the latest findings strongly support the notion that Saturn has a greater moon count overall. Due to Jupiter's proximity, astronomers can detect significantly smaller moons around it.

solar system

solar system moons

The number of confirmed moons in our solar system has steadily risen over the years as telescopes and analysis techniques have become more sensitive. The recent study employed a method known as "shift and stack" to identify fainter and smaller satellites. This technique involves shifting consecutive images at the same rate as the moon's motion across the sky, resulting in a brighter composite image when all the data is combined.

Dr. Edward Ashton, who led the project at the University of British Columbia and currently works at Taiwan's Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, likened the challenge of connecting the appearances of these moons in the data to a complex dot-to-dot puzzle. "It's like having around 100 different puzzles on the same page, and you don't know which dot belongs to which puzzle," he explained.

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