Saturn reclaims 'moon king' title with 62 newfound satellites, bringing total to 145https://www.space.com/saturn-moon-king-62-newfound-satellites
Astronomers have discovered 62 new moons orbiting the ringed planet Saturn, bringing to total to 145 Moons, with 121 irregular moons and 24 regular moons.
Moon, or irregular moon, vs asteroid.The new moons were discovered by a team led by Edward Ashton, a postdoctoral fellow at the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, who used a technique called "shift and stack" to find these smaller and fainter moons around Saturn.
The technique uses a set of images shifting at the same speed at which a moon moves through the sky to enhance the signal from that moon. Moons that are too faint to be seen in single images can reveal themselves in the resultant "stacked image."
Astronomers have used this method to search for moons around the ice giants Neptune and Uranus, but this is the first time it has been applied to the solar system's second-largest planet, Saturn.
Though some of the moons had been spotted as early as 2019, it takes more than sighting an object close to a planet to confirm it is a moon and not an asteroid making a brief close passage to that planet. To change these objects from "suspected moons" to "confirmed moons" of Saturn, the astronomers had to track them for several years to ensure each is actually orbiting the gas giant.
Performing a painstaking process of matching objects detected on different nights over the course of 24 months, the team tracked 63 objects that they ended up confirming as moons. One of these satellites was revealed back in 2021, with the remaining 62 moons gradually announced over the past few weeks.
Sky and Telescope mentions 95 moons for Jupiter.Jupiter leap-frogged Saturn for the moon crown in February 2023 when 12 new moons were found around the solar system's largest planet, bringing the total number of known Jovian moons to 92.
As of press time, the Minor Planet Center (MPC) has published the orbits of 41 new moons in a series of announcements, called Minor Planet Electronic Circulars, issued between May 3rd and 10th. Brett Gladman (University of British Columbia, Canada) said May 11th that the center would release orbits for an additional 21 moons shortly. That will bring Saturn's total moon count to 145, including 24 “regular” moons, which formed around the planet, and 121 smaller, “irregular” moons on wide, elongated, and tilted orbits. The new reports more than double Saturn’s number of irregular moons, leaving Saturn far ahead of Jupiter’s 95 moons, which had put Jupiter in first place earlier this year.