Oct 8, 2019 - Science

Saturn beats out Jupiter as king of the moons

Saturn as seen by Cassini in 2017.

Saturn as seen by Cassini in 2017. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SScI

Scientists have found 20 never-before-seen moons orbiting Saturn, making it the planet with the most known moons in our solar system.

Why it matters: The newfound natural satellites increase Saturn's moon count to 82, eclipsing Jupiter's 79 known moons.

Details: The new moons are each about 3 miles across, and 17 of them orbit the ringed planet in retrograde — going the opposite direction of Saturn's rotation, according to an announcement from Carnegie Science.

  • Those 17 retrograde moons take more than 3 years to orbit the planet and are thought to be the remnants of a larger moon that broke apart in the past.

Go deeper: Enter a contest to help name the newly discovered moons from now until Dec. 6.

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