It sure looks like something is trying to make its way out of Saturn’s rings in the image above. Scientists noticed the little bump on the edge of Saturn’s ring and have nicknamed it Peggy. If the object is confirmed, it would be the 63rd moon in Saturn’s orbit.
The image comes courtesy of the Cassini spacecraft, which has given us plenty of awe-inspiring looks of Saturn in recent months. Today’s discovery reminds us that space is full of wonder and mystery.
Astronomers will know if ‘Peggy’ is a moon for surer later this year when Cassini gets a closer look.
Carl Murray of Queen Mary University in London had this to say about the discovery, “We have not seen anything like this before.”
“We may be looking at the act of birth, where this object is just leaving the rings and heading off to be a moon in its own right,” Murray added. Murray was the one to dub the possible moon as ‘Peggy.’ According to Universe Today, he named the possible moon after his mother-in-law.
Most of Saturn’s moons are thought to have come from its rings. In a NASA press release, Murray explains a bit about how Saturn’s moons were formed.
“The theory holds that Saturn long ago had a much more massive ring system capable of giving birth to larger moons,” said Murray. “As the moons formed near the edge, they depleted the rings and evolved, so the ones that formed earliest are the largest and the farthest out.”
Peggy has a long road ahead of it to become a moon. The small object will have to make its way through Saturn’s rings without hitting any other ice bodies in order to officially become a moon.