One of the major planets in the Solar System, Saturn is comprised of 61 moons. It is popular for its four visible moons, namely Telesto, Prometheus, Dione and Titan. Aside from these, this planet also has hundreds of moonlets. In addition to these highly interesting details, it is also good to know certain information regarding its history including who discovered the four moons of Saturn.
The Discovery of the Four Moons of Saturn
Who discovered the four moons of Saturn? The first moon is Titan, which was discovered by Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens on March 25, 1655. The second one is Dione, which was discovered by Italian/French astrologer Giovanni Cassini in 1684. The third moon is called Prometheus, which was named after a powerful deity in Greek mythology. Stewart A. Collins discovered it sometime in October 1980. The fourth moon is named Telesto, which was named after a Greek mythological character. On April 8, 1980, astronomers John W. Fountain, Stephen M. Larson, Harold J. Reitsema and Bradford A. Smith discovered this moon.
Additional Facts and Other Highly Important Information
Huygens discovered Titan in 1655. The alternate name of this moon is Saturn VI. He was inspired by Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei’s discovery of the four largest moons of Jupiter in 1610. He was also impressed greatly by the improvements in the technology of the telescope. He published his findings as part of his work entitled “De Saturni Luna Observatio Nova.” In has a semi-major axis measuring 1,221,870 kilometers, an eccentricity of 0.0288 and an orbital period of 15.945 days. The moon is comprised of 1.6 percent methane and 98.4 percent nitrogen.
Cassini discovered Dione in 1684. Its alternate name is Saturn IV. This moon is comprised mainly of water ice. Right after Titan and Enceladus, this moon is the third densest in Saturn due to gravitational compression. Its interior is probably made up of denser materials such as silicate rock. Its geological features include craters, lineae or wispy features as well as chasmata. Its semi-major axis is measured at 377,396 kilometers, its eccentricity 0.0022 and its orbital period is 2.736915 days.
Collins discovered Prometheus in October 1980. The spacecraft called Voyager 1 captured the photographs of this moon. It has an eccentricity of 0.0022 and has an orbital period of 0.612990038 days. On the other hand, Fountain, Larson, Reitsema and Smith discovered Telesto in April 1980. It has a semi-major axis of 294,619 kilometers and an orbital period of 1.887802 days.