The 82 Moons Of Saturn

Dec 9, 2019

On a good clear dark night using a large amateur telescope you should be able to see the six brightest moons of Saturn, namely Titan, Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Rhea and Dione. The other 76 moons are much fainter.

Jupiter, the largest of the planets recently reigned as the planet with the most moons. Now Saturn has dethroned Jupiter with the recent discovery of 20 additional moons. Saturn now has a grand total of 82 known moons - three more than Jupiter, which puts Jupiter into second place with its 79 moons. These newly discovered moons of Saturn are small with a diameter of about three miles. 17 of the new moons move in what is called a retrograde orbit, meaning that they orbit Saturn in the opposite direction of Saturn’s rotation.

These new moons were discovered by the Subaru telescope located on the top of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii.

The sizes Saturn’s moons vary widely. Titan is the largest moon of Saturn and is bigger than the planet Mercury while some of the moons are as small as a football stadium. For example, Daphnis, which was discovered by the Cassini mission, is 2.4 miles in diameter and orbits within the rings of Saturn. Its gravity perturbs the particles in the rings causing waves to form at the edges of a gap in the rings.