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Emily LakdawallaJuly 19, 2007

New moons at Saturn

The Cassini team announced today the discovery of a new moon at Saturn between Methone and Pallene. While researching that story I realized I missed a May announcement of the discovery of three more outer, irregular satellites. So I've put those together into a news story on the discovery of four new Saturnian moons, bringing Saturn's total to 60!

Saturn's total of 60 moons is approaching Jupiter's total of 63. However, unlike Saturn, Jupiter has not yet had the benefit of an orbital spacecraft that was able to perform lengthy sets of observations to search for new moons. Galileo was in a position to do so, but alas, the failure of its high-gain antenna meant that it was not capable of broadcasting back to Earth the large numbers of images necessary for moon searches. The discovery of moons like S/2007 S4 at Jupiter will have to wait for another orbital mission.

For the up-to-date moon counts, visit our "How Many Moons?" page.

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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Emily Lakdwalla
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