5-speed listening (Saturn - Level 5)

Saturn now the planet with the most moons






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Astronomers say Saturn is now the planet with the most moons. It has overtaken Jupiter as the "king of the moons". The astronomers found 20 new moons orbiting Saturn, which brings the planet's total to 82. Jupiter has 79 celestial bodies. Each of the newly-discovered moons is at least 5km in diameter. Seventeen of them orbit Saturn backwards and take over three years to complete one orbit of Saturn. The astronomers found the moons using a powerful telescope in Hawaii. The research team will now look for moons that are a kilometer in diameter.

Lead astronomer Dr Scott Sheppard commented on the origins of the moons. He said: "We don't think they formed with the planet. We think they were captured by the planet in the past." He thinks Saturn sucked in a mixture of gas and dust to form the moons. He added: "We think these moons interacted with that gas and dust. These were comets or asteroids that happened to be passing by.... We think these are the last remnants of what formed Saturn." The moons will be named in a competition after giants from Gallic, Inuit and Norse mythology.

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