Scientists say they have discovered what may be the birth of a new moon within the rings of Saturn, according to BBC News.
If the object is a new moon it will be the ringed planet’s 63rd. It has been informally named “Peggy.”
“Witnessing the birth of a tiny moon is an exciting, unexpected event,” Linda Spilker, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told BBC.
It is estimated that Peggy may be approximately half a mile in diameter and scientists believe it is made of ice.
Scientists noticed a bump or distortion on the edge of a ring around Saturn, which led them to believe it was a new moon forming.
“All we know is that something is there — what we can track is the effect of an object in the rings perturbing the particles around it, creating a disturbance in the rings,” Professor Carl Murray, lead scientist with Queen Mary University of London, told BBC.
Peggy’s future remains uncertain. If it continues to orbit within Saturn’s rings, it runs the risk of colliding with smaller lumps of ice that could cause the tiny moon to disintegrate.
Source: BBC News