back to article Tough luck, Jupiter, you've lost your crown for now: Boffins show Saturn has more moons

Astronomers have discovered 20 new moons orbiting Saturn, meaning the gas giant now has a total of 82 satellites, overtaking Jupiter which has 79 currently identified. The International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center, the authority on deciding official names and objects in space, announced the findings on Monday. …

  1. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge


    ... Moony McMoonface is already out of contention?

  2. sbt
    Paris Hilton

    If pluto's not a planet...

    Then do satellitesimals count as moons?

    I'm unfamiliar with Gallic mythology. Is that the idea that France is an important world power? Or do they mean Celtic?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm unfamiliar with Gallic mythology.

      Perhaps they mean Asterix & Obelix. :-)

      What with all the translations, they should never run out of names for new moonlets...

      ... and if they do, we can always get a new set of translations, ... are there any in Klingon yet?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: I'm unfamiliar with Gallic mythology.

        "are there any in Klingon yet?"

        If there aren't. you could always make some up if you have a mind to do so. Who would be able to say you were wrong?

        1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

          Re: Who would be able to say you were wrong?

          Well, this guy for starters. Marc Okrand is the linguist who created* or at the very least "fleshed out" the language.

          * according to most sources James Doohan came up with the original sounds/"dialogue" for the first movie, but Marc Okrand created the full language with syntax, pronunciation guides, etc

      2. Geoff May (no relation)

        ... are there any in Klingon yet?

        Apparently there are bootleg versions out there:

        Scroll down near the bottom.

    2. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: If pluto's not a planet...

      No, Gallia (well, transalpina) est omnia divisa in partes tres - there's the Celts as they refer to themselves (see Asterix and Obelix), there's the Belgians, who are bravest, and I drank too much as a student to remember the others.... I don't think it was the Helvetians... meh. Coffee, now.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: If pluto's not a planet...

        Rather than re-invent the wheel, I decided to eyeball wiki. Surprisingly, the article on Gaul is fairly accurate ... assuming that the bits of my brain storing that info can still be trusted. 40+ years is a long time, at least in human terms ...

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: If pluto's not a planet...

          the article on Gaul is fairly accurate

          Pikiwedia is usally reasonably good as long as you stay away from political stuff or the woo-woo fringe stuff..

        2. AndrueC Silver badge

          Re: If pluto's not a planet...

          If it turns out that your memory is wrong would you find that galling?


    3. Scott 53

      Or do they mean Celtic?

      So we'll have moons called Billy McNeill and Jimmy Johnstone?

      1. Ana Cronym

        Re: Or do they mean Celtic?

        The "wee jinky" moon has a certain ring to it*

        *pun fully intended

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: If pluto's not a planet...

      I'm unfamiliar with Gallic mythology

      Probably because we know very little about it (apart from some of the names of their gods - old Julius wrote a little about them (assigning them to equivalent Roman gods mostly) and we have a few other sources that mention the names but, other than that, we know very little[1]. We do know some of their tribal names and chieftans (Vercingetorix for example) but again, it's mostly because Julius wrote about them as he fought them.

      Their culture was very similar to ancient Welsh culture so we can get some idea of their beliefs[2] but we certainly don't know any detail.

      [1] That's the problem with a mostly-oral set of traditions[3] - there simply isn't enough documentary evidence.

      [2] A rough outline with no detail - the druids[3] didn't write them down.

      [3] The Roman-era druids didn't write stuff down. So modern-day druids who claim to be following their beliefs are (mostly) following beliefs made up by the Victorians and Edwardians histoical fantasists. Which they tend to get annoyed about if you point it out.

      1. sbt

        Annoyed modern-day druids are scary

        Thanks for this most informative and excellently foot-noted answer.

        However, I am now nervous that a druid might harm me with a twig waving or incantation, much as I am nervous of acid attacks by homeopathy adherents.

  3. Blockchain commentard

    Basically they want you to re-watch Thor and list all the characters (non-Earthlings).

    The Celtic gods had sacrifices made to them. Where are those interns when they're needed!!!

  4. Ben1892

    How about, Asterix, Obelix and Vitalstatistix?

    1. Joe W Silver badge


      1. lglethal Silver badge


        1. hplasm


          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge



            (I seem to recall he was a chief of the Britons.. The guy who Getafix first made tea for)

  5. jmch Silver badge


    How big does a chunk of rock need to be to be classified as a moon? Is ANY chunk of rock orbiting a planet a moon (in which case wouldn't Saturn's rings count as about a billion moons??)


      Re: Moons?

      What about chunks of rock orbiting minor planets? Is Charon a moon or a minor moon? I think the nomenclature of astronomical bodies in the Solar System is due for a complete overhaul. By Toutatis!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. STOP_FORTH

          Re: Moons?

          OK, what about the other four?

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. STOP_FORTH

              Re: Moons?

              That's a very good suggestion, but a bit human-centric!

    2. Swiss Anton

      Re: Moons?

      What makes a moon a moon?

      I think its when a cow can jump over it.

    3. Annihilator

      Re: Moons?

      There is no lower limit on a moon, but I do think they need to be able to identify and track it consistently. So I suspect that as we get better at identifying smaller and smaller objects, it'll be defined better.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Moons?

      I think they shouldn't consider something a moon unless it has sufficient gravity to make itself round. So Mars has no moons, and Jupiter and Saturn have a lot fewer than advertised.

      1. Tessier-Ashpool

        Re: Moons?

        I think they shouldn't consider something round unless it has sufficient roundness to be really really round. Or something like that.

  6. Fat Bob

    Hmmm, Gallic you say...

    Lune Fitzlunevisage?

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge


      How do you know it's an illegitimate moon?

      (Fitz is the Norman nomenclature for "someone born on the wrong side of the blankets but who is still acknowledged by the father". )

      1. STOP_FORTH

        That would explain all the Fitzroys. Entitled bastards!

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    How long are they going to last ?

    It's starting to look like a demolition derby is taking place near Saturn. We know that the rings already contain the remains of one or more bodies, and with these 20 newly discovered lumps racing around in various groups and completely different ways, there will be more collisions for sure.

    Maybe that will lengthen the life span of Saturn's rings for a few more millennia.

    1. hplasm

      Moon Factory

      Buy it now!

    2. aks

      Re: How long are they going to last ?

      I wonder if the breakup of larger bodies is caused by collisions or disruption of rubble-piles. Many of these smallish bodies have low density. Phobos is an example.

  8. Christoph

    New moons?

    Aren't new moons rather tricky to see? It would be easier to find full moons.

  9. Woza

    Jupiter and Saturn getting all this attention

    but who's mooning over Uranus?

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Jupiter and Saturn getting all this attention


  10. Daedalus

    It depends what you mean by a moon....

    So here's a rock a few km in diameter orbiting at over 20 million km from the planet. Put another way, that's about 1/7 of the distance from Earth to the Sun, or 1/70 of the distance from Saturn to the Sun. Only the fact that Saturn is so massive and isolated allows this thing to stay in orbit instead of wandering off. The well known moons are, on average, 10 to 20 times closer to the planet.

    I'm reminded of the Thousand Islands region of the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence. There are a lot more rocks than that in the area, but the rule is that if the rock has a tree or two on it, regardless of size, it's an island.

  11. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    Uranus is visible during a full moon

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



  13. Oengus


    Finally I might be able to get my name on a moon...

  14. Big_Boomer Silver badge


    What's wrong with Looney McLoonface?

    If they use Asterix, the original French names should be used.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like