A team of three astronomers, two of them Canadian, have recently discovered twelve moons around Saturn. There are now a total of 30 known moons that ring the planet, the most in the solar system. The suggestion has been made by Dr. JJ Kavelaars, an astronomer at McMaster University, to identify the newly discovered moons with names of heroes and spirits taken from Inuit legends. For the time being, the moons have been given alphanumeric codes.
Moons have generally been named for Greco-Roman gods or Shakespearean characters, but Dr. Kavelaars is pushing for Inuit names such as Ijiraq and Qallupilluit, characters he found in children’s books penned by Inuit author Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak. Ijiraq is a mythical character from the book Hide and Sneak who helps children hides so well that they can never be found, an appropriate choice for a moon that has remained well-hidden up until now. The team is agreed on the suggestion of Inuit names and will make this recommendation to the International Astronomical Union, which will finalize its decision at a general meeting next year.