2019-03-06 11:14:01

MOST of the dozen small moons discovered around Saturn last year are debris from cometary impacts, says a team led by Brett Gladman of the Côte d’Azur Observatory in Nice. The moons all have large irregular orbits. The team grouped them according to the inclinations of their orbits to Saturn’s orbit ( Nature, vol 412, p 163). Gladman thinks two groups are the remains of larger objects captured by Saturn’s gravity but later shattered by comets. A third group were fragments from impacts with the 220-kilometre moon,