Large family

Published: Saturday 15 September 2001

Twelve more moons of the planet Saturn were discovered recently, making Saturn the planet with the highest number of moons in our Solar System. Observations taken by astronomers at a network of telescopes in Chile, Hawaii and Arizona, USA, suggests that 11 of the new moons come from 3 earlier moons that were shattered by collisions. The moons are mostly a few kilometres across and move in highly irregular orbits between 15 and 20 million kilometres from Saturn, which suggests that the moons were actually captured by Saturn, though how this is possible is still a mystery (Nature , Vol 412, p163).

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