3 new moons discovered orbiting Uranus, Neptune

These discoveries add to evidence of similar moon groupings around all 4 giant planets, supporting theory of collisions shaping solar system's evolution

Gizem Nisa Çebi  | 28.02.2024 - Update : 29.02.2024
3 new moons discovered orbiting Uranus, Neptune


The Minor Planet Center of the Paris-based International Astronomical Union has announced the discovery of three new moons orbiting the ice giants of the solar system, Uranus and Neptune.

Multiple observations and “special image-processing techniques” are crucial in confirming the existence of these “faint and distant” moons, Carnegie Science said in a statement issued last week, citing Astronomer Scott Sheppard from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, who played a leading role in utilizing the Magellan telescopes in Chile and collaborating with colleagues from NASA and universities.

Uranus gets its 1st new moon in 20 years

The moon, provisionally named S/2023 U1, is only 8 kilometers (4.9 miles) in diameter and takes 680 days to orbit Uranus, according to Carnegie Science, which highlights the exciting discoveries of researchers in astronomy, Earth, and planetary science.

It will eventually be named after a Shakespeare play, joining moons like Oberon, Titania, and Ariel, it added.

Neptune welcomes 2 new moons

It said S/2002 N5, the brighter of the two, measures about 23 kilometers (14.2 miles) and takes nearly nine years to orbit Neptune.

The statement said S/2021 N1, the fainter one, is around 14 kilometers (8.6 miles) in diameter and takes almost 27 years to complete its orbit.

Both will be given Greek mythological names, similar to the existing Neptunian moons.

Their orbits and positions suggest that they may be fragments of larger moons shattered by collisions in the solar system's early days.

These discoveries add to the evidence of similar moon groupings around all four giant planets, supporting the theory of collisions shaping the solar system's evolution.

While current technology may miss even smaller moons, these discoveries open doors to further exploration and understanding of the solar system's formation and history.

Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.