How are there so many?
Saturn has many moons – 80, to be exact.
And they all vary dramatically in size, as shown in a stunning new video shared by MetaBallStudios on YouTube that compares the size of all of the gas giant’s moons to New York.
It provides an incredibly concrete scale for Jupiter’s natural satellites, which scientists believe are formed from a massive disc of gas and solid debris.
While dozens of the gas giant’s moons are quite tiny – dwarfing only part of Manhattan, for example – the planet’s four Galilean moons are much larger, ranging in diameter from about 2,000 miles in the case of Europe to the 3,270 chonky miles of Ganymede.
The origin of these four moons is still shrouded in mystery. Europa, in particular, has long fascinated scientists, as they believe the tiny satellite is covered in a layer of ice with a huge ocean lurking beneath it. This makes it one of the most tantalizing targets in our search for extraterrestrial life here in the solar system.
While the video only shows animated versions of Jupiter’s moons, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope recently looked real, capturing a very detailed image of the planet alongside Europa.
In 2019, Jupiter’s gas giant cousin Saturn overtook Jupiter to become the planet with the most moons in the solar system when astronomers found 20 more moons orbiting it, bringing the total to 82 moons. only two more than Jupiter.
Thankfully, we’ll get a new look at Jupiter’s fascinating satellites thanks to NASA’s upcoming Europa Clipper mission – and we can’t wait to see the results.
Learn more about Jupiter: James Webb Image of Jupiter so sharp you can see its moon Europa