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Who discovered the first four moons of Saturn?

A:

Quick Answer

The first four of Saturn's moons were discovered by Christiaan Huygens and Giovanni Domenico Cassini between 1655 and 1684. As of 2014, Saturn has 53 confirmed moons and nine provisional moons.

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Full Answer

Huygens discovered only Titan, the first moon discovered, in 1655. Cassini discovered the next four moons, finding Iapetus in 1671, Rhea in 1672 and both Dione and Tethys in 1684. William Herschel discovered two moons, Mimas and Enceladus, in 1789.

Additional astronomers brought the total of discovered moons to 18 by the time NASA launched the Cassini-Huygens mission in 1997, responsible for discovering many of the remaining moons. Saturn's largest moon is Titan.

Saturn has 62 moons, of which 53 are officially recognized moons while the rest are provisional. Two of the smallest moons are Telesto and Calypso. Most of Saturn’s moons have names that come from either Greek or Roman mythology. For example, Calypso was the name of a sea nymph in Greek mythology.

Saturn is an outer planet. Saturn’s atmosphere consists mainly of hydrogen and helium. This planet also has more than 30 rings.

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