How many moons does Saturn have?  More than 145 (!) pieces

How many moons does Saturn have? More than 145 (!) pieces

Jupiter is often called the king of the moons, but this is not true. Astronomers have already mapped 145 of the ringed planet's moons.

As of 2019, all moons larger than three kilometers have already been mapped. In 2019, scientists began searching for smaller moons. They used the Canadian-French-Hawaii telescope located on the summit of Mauna Kea volcano on the island of Hawaii. Moons have been tracked for years. Only then can it be determined that the object is indeed orbiting the planet and is therefore a moon.

In total, astronomers discovered 62 “new” moons, bringing the total number to 145 natural satellites. It's a mystery why Saturn has so many moons, but astronomers believe a medium-sized moon broke up 100 million years ago. Numerous small debris still wander like moons around the ringed planet.

Four moons in one photo

This week's space image shows some of Saturn's moons. This image was taken by the Cassini spacecraft. If all goes well, count four: Telesto (above), Prometheus (against the rings), Titan (large moon) and Rhea (in front of Titan). Telesto is the smallest moon with a diameter of 24 km. Special fact: Telesto and Callisto orbit in the same orbit as the moon Tethys: one moon is sixty degrees in front of Tethys and the other moon is sixty degrees behind the “Sea Goddess.” Prometheus is slightly larger and measures 137 x 81 x 56 kilometers. This means that the moon is not round, but irregular. Rhea and Titan – as you can see in the picture – are round.

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With a diameter of 1,527 km, Rhea is the second largest moon of Saturn. It looks like a boring moon, but appearances can be deceiving. In 2010, astronomers discovered oxygen in Rhea's atmosphere. This oxygen layer is less than a hundred kilometers thick and very thin. Did you know that Rhea produces 130 grams of oxygen every second? That's not much. Moreover, Rhea has tectonic activity. Some cracks on the moon's surface are four kilometers deep.

The last moon in the image is an old acquaintance: Titan. This strange world is somewhat similar to Earth. Clouds, rain, dense atmosphere, rivers, lakes and seas: Titan has it all. There are also differences. Titan has no tectonic plates, making its surface more similar to that of Mars. Furthermore, the lakes are filled with liquid hydrocarbons, such as ethane and methane. The temperature on the moon is -179 degrees Celsius. In the future, NASA will send a drone, a Dragonfly, to the moon. This dragonfly will reach the moon in 2034 and will travel a distance of more than 175 kilometers. We hope to learn more about this mysterious moon.

Would you like to enjoy Cassini's space images more? Then watch the forty most beautiful pictures of Saturn and its moons.

In recent decades, space telescopes and satellites have captured beautiful images of nebulae, galaxies, stellar nurseries, and planets. Every weekend, we take a cool space photo from the archives. Enjoy all the pictures? See them on this page.

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