May
13
2005

New Moon Orbiting Saturn

The Cassini spacecraft that is currently studying Saturn recently discovered a new moonlet in the planet's rings. The moonlet, designated S/2005 S1 but yet officially unnamed, is about 7 kilometers in diameter. The first "S" in the designation stands for "satellite" followed by the year in which it was discovered. The second "S" and the number "1" indicate that it was the first new satellite discovered orbiting Saturn in 2005. Once the International Astronomical Union verifies the moon it is assigned a permanent number and the discoverer of the moon is encouraged to help name it. If you found a new moon in orbit around Saturn, what would you name it?

This discovery brings the number of planet orbiting satellites around Saturn to 35, second only to Jupiter's 61.

The Cassini spacecraft is a cooperative effort between three space agencies: NASA, the European Space Agency,, and the Italian Space Agency.

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