Saturn is growing a new moon!

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Astronomers working at Queen Mary University of London were going through the treasure trove of data returned by the Cassini mission when they spotted something strange: a lump in one of the rings.  Well, lumps in the rings aren’t all that unusual, but this one looked more like a newly discovered moonlet.  So they computed an orbit for it and looked for it in other images.  And they found it — but in a way that suggests it may actually be very young (in astronomical terms) and still in the process of formation, accreting from the icy debris in Saturn’s rings.  The moon has been provisionally nicknamed Peggy, but if confirmed and recognized by the IAU will likely get a mythological name in line with the existing sorts of names around Saturn.

The Cassini team, meanwhile, is hoping to get a better look at “Peggy” when the next phase of the mission brings the spacecraft closer to the rings.

Cassini Mission: NASA Cassini Images May Reveal Birth of a Saturn Moon

Bad Astronomy: Cassini May Have Witnessed the Birth of a New Saturn Moon!

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