Up until 1995, moonlets were only hypothetical components of Saturn's F-ring structure, when the Earth passed through Saturn's ring plane. The Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory both captured objects orbiting close or near the F-ring. In 2004, when Cassini caught an object 4-5km in diameter on the outer ring of the F-ring and then 5 hours later on the inner F-ring, showing that the object had orbited.
Three different types of small moons have been called moonlets:
- A belt of objects embedded in a planetary ring, especially around Saturn, such as those in the A Ring, S/2009 S 1 in the B Ring ("propeller" moonlets), and those in the F Ring
- Occasionally asteroid moons, such as those of 87 Sylvia
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- Robert Walker (17 April 2015). "Can Moons Have Moonlets? Or Rings? Moonlets Of Pluto's Moons?". Science 2.0. Retrieved 9 April 2016.