The spectacular ring system of the giant planet Saturn has been intensively investigated by various means, including the Hubble Space Telescope. In 1995, Saturn and Earth were aligned in such a way that we were able to see the rings exactly edge-on — a rarity. The bright but very thin rings became almost invisible, which allowed us to see a number of other phenomena — such as extensions of the ring system on the outside and small moons — that normally would be drowned out by the bright light. Both Hubble and large telescopes on the ground observed a number of apparent moons, but closer inspection usually revealed that they were only temporary concentrations in the rings. Many of these “moons” had shapes that were too elongated, or they varied suspiciously in brightness. In addition, the Voyager probes should have found all moons of the corresponding sizes when they traversed the Saturn system in 1980 and 1981. Only a single new discovery turned out to be a previously overlooked new moon.
KeywordsGiant Planet Hubble Space Telescope Saturn System Large Moon Colorful Infrared Image
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