The Only Planet In Our Solar System With An Indeterminate Number Of Moons Is?
At some point in science class as a child you might have learned the names of the more prominent moons of Saturn like Titan, Rhea, and Dione, but there’s a good chance you didn’t come close to learning all the names of the moons orbiting Saturn (there are 62 confirmed, 2 unconfirmed, and only 53 of them have been named).
Not only did you likely not learn all the numerous identified moons of Saturn, but you certainly didn’t learn anything beyond that because the number of moons orbiting Saturn is so high and the presence or orbits of some of these moons so irregular that scientists haven’t even fully hashed out exactly how many there are (or even where they all are).
Thanks to Saturn’s huge mass, it has done an admirable job of sucking up all sorts of bodies from the space around it including capturing minor planets (like Titan, which is 48% bigger than our own Moon) all the way down to what are known as “moonlets” (tiny natural satellites that span only a few hundred meters or less across). Astronomers have detected over 150 of these moonlets which, while a high number, represent only a fraction of the tiny moons located in Saturn’s rings.
Image courtesy of NASA.