Archive for November 14, 2019

11/14/2019 – Ephemeris – Saturn is not only Lord of the Rings, but also King of the Moons

November 14, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, November 14th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 37 minutes, setting at 5:15, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:39. The Moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 6:57 this evening.

This news item is a month old, but it’d kind of cool. Jupiter may be the king of the planets, but it is not the king of the Moons. In a recent announcement from the International Astronomical Union. Saturn has edged out Jupiter in the number of moons that orbit it. Twenty new moons or satellites have been recently been discovered around the ringed planet bringing its total number up to 82. Jupiter’s total number of moons stands at 79. The discovery of the 20 latest moons was done with the Subaru 8.2 meter telescope on Mauna Kea on the island of Hawai’i by a group headed by Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science. 17 of these new satellites orbit Saturn in similar orbits backward from most of the rest of the moons.

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.


A diagram of Saturn's entire moon system and ring system

Bottom panel: The outer irregular moons of Saturn, with a scale of 1 pixel = 40,000 km. Moon groups, as well as ungrouped moons, are individually listed. They are graphed by their inclination, as well as the closest/furthest points in their orbit from Saturn (perichron and apochron) Middle panel: The middle moons of Saturn, with a scale of 1 pixel = 4,000 km. Although Saturn’s middle moons can be resolved, the inner moons and its rings are still difficult to resolve
Top panel: The inner moons of Saturn, with a scale of 1 pixel = 400 km. On the left, the rings of Saturn are labeled, and on the right, the inner moons are labeled. Click on the image to enlarge. Credit: Exoplanetaryscience.

Check it out in Bad Astronomy:  The satellite diagram it contains shows Saturn not to scale with the satellite orbits.  At that scale Saturn would be a small dot.  These satellites are far out, really!

For more on all of Saturn’s moons: