Astronomers have discovered new small moons around Neptune and Uranus

The number of moons in our solar system has now increased by three

WASHINGTON — Astronomers have discovered three previously unknown moons in our solar system – two additional moons around Neptune and one around Uranus.

A recent calculation puts Neptune at 16 known moons and Uranus at 28.

One of Neptune's new moons has the longest orbital trip ever known. It takes about 27 years for the small outer moon to complete one lap around Neptune, the vast icy planet farthest from the Sun, said astronomer Scott Shepherd of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, who helped make the discovery.

The new moon orbiting Uranus is estimated to be just 5 miles (8 kilometers) in diameter, possibly the smallest of the planet's moons.

„We suspect there may be many more small moons,” he said.


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