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== Saturn has 56 confirmed natural satellites.

Introduction

Saturn is currently known to have 56 moons, many of which were discovered very recently, and 3 suspected moons. However, a precise number of moons can never be given, as there is no objective dividing line between the anonymous orbiting fragments that form Saturn's ring system and the larger objects that have already been named as moons.

  • Prior to the Space Age, 9 moons were known to orbit Saturn.
  • In 1980, the Voyager space probes discovered 9 more moons in the inner Saturnian system.
  • A survey starting in late 2000 found 12 new moons orbiting Saturn at a great distance in orbits that suggest they are fragments of larger bodies captured by Saturn's gravitational pull (Nature vol. 412, p.163-166).
  • The Cassini mission, which arrived at Saturn in the summer of 2004, discovered three small moons in the inner Saturnian system as well as three suspected but unconfirmed moons in the F Ring. This increased the total to 37 moons, confirmed and unconfirmed.
  • On November 16, 2007rgbehbgtbrthebehb, Cassini scientists announced that the structure of Saturn's rings indicates the presence of several more moons orbiting within the rings, but only one, Daphnis, has been visually confirmed so far (its confirmation was announced on May 6, 2005).[1].
  • On May 3, 2005, astronomers using the Mauna Kea Observatory announced the discovery of 12 more small outer moons [2][3].
  • On June 30, 2006, astronomers using the Subaru 8.2-m telescope announced the discovery of 9 more small outer moons [4].

The spurious satellite Themis, "discovered" in 1905, does not exist.

Naming notes

Some asteroids share the same names as moons of Saturn: 55 Pandora, 106 Dione, 577 Rhea, 1809 Prometheus, 1810 Epimetheus, 4450 Pan.

References


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