NASA space probe has taken images of Saturn while it was in the process of creating a new moon, adding another one to the 63 moons Saturn currently has. While the identification of Saturn’s new moon is still not 100% positive, the scientists have already found a name for the “baby” moon. They called it Peggy.
Carl Murray, a researcher at the Queen Mary University of London said the they have not witnessed any event like the birth of Saturn’s new moon before.
According to a NASA report, Murray wrote the report that was published by the science journal Icarus. In it, Murray writes that the science world may witness an actual “planetary” birth meaning that an actual object is detaching from Saturn’s rings and heads off to be a moon on its own.
The officials at NASA said that the space probe called Cassini-Huygens has documented some sort of bulge in the A Ring of the planet Saturn. The A Ring is the largest of its bands measuring 1200 km long and 10 km wide. Scientists believe that the rings act like nurseries where all Saturn’s moons have been created. These rings are made of dust, rock and ice and when they coalesce they add more gravity and mass, causing the moons to get bigger. NASA said about the possible new moon that it’s a small one – about 0.5 miles in diameter.
Saturn is known to have 53 moons and nine more possible ones, described by the scientists as “provisional”. Most of Saturn’s moons are made of ice, the NASA experts say.
Linda Spilker, a scientist involved in the Cassini Project said that “Witnessing the possible birth of tiny moon is an exciting, unexpected event.”
Saturn’s new moon – too soon to say if it’s a permanent moon
Scientists believe that Saturn’s new moon is still too small and the Cassini cameras cannot take a clear image yet. It might take two more years before they have some detailed information on Peggy, the new moon. The scientists are hoping that by 2016 Cassini’s orbit will get even closer to Saturn’s A Ring and this way they can take better photos of they believe to be the last moon Saturn will produce. The Cassini space probe has been orbiting around Saturn since 2004.
Another important astronomical event that happened recently was the total lunar eclipse scientists called the “blood moon”, which some Christians believe it to be a sign from God.