Ten new moons-including one 'oddball'-discovered around Jupiter
Jul 21, 2018, 04:24
Twelve new moons have been discovered in the orbit of Jupiter, which is increasing the number of natural satellites going to rotate the 79th largest planet in our Solar System.The Roman goddess of health and hygiene and Lord Jupiter's grand granddaughter is temporarily named a new circular called "Valetudo", a odd ball because it places Jupiter in orbit in the opposite direction of the nearby moons.
The astronomers were looking for objects on the fringes of the solar system when they spotted the Jupiter moons.
Astronomers peering into the depths of the solar system in search of a presumed ninth planet far beyond Pluto happened to be looking past Jupiter during their observations and happened to discovery 12 new moons orbiting the giant planet.
Astronomers have discovered 12 new moons circling Jupiter. The newly discovered retrograde moons take about two years to orbit Jupiter.
This illustration shows the newly discovered moons of Jupiter and their orbits.
Researchers from the Carnegie Institute of Science have "serendipitously" stumbled upon 12 new moons of Jupiter, one was which was described as an "oddball".
All the moons may be fragments that broke apart when their larger, parent cosmic bodies collided.
Nine of the new moons are part of a distant swarm of moons that orbit Jupiter in the opposite direction of its spin rotation. As you might imagine, that's far more than any other planet in our solar system can boast. Several telescopes were used to confirm the findings. The moons orbit in three different groupings and are thought to be the remnants of three bodies that were broken apart in earlier collisions. Sheppard's discovery brought the total number of objects orbiting Jupiter to 79 - but he said one discovery stood out in particular. Two of the new moons are in a group that orbit in the same direction as Jupiter's rotation called the prograde group. Only in today's much emptier solar system, after the giant planets finished forming and clearing their surroundings of gas and dust, would small moons like these have been able to survive. This odd orbit makes it prone to collisions with the retrograde moons that are moving in the opposite direction.
"What astonishes me about these moons is that they're the remnants of what the planet formed from", he said.
None of the new moons are more than 2 miles in diameter, which explains why they have not been noticed before.
The team proposed naming that tiny moon Valetudo, after the goddess of health and hygiene.
Because Jupiter is also a bright planet, astronomers have had to deal with the issue of glare and scattered light affecting the space where moons can exist. Mars has two, Earth has one and Mercury and Venus have none.
It has an angled prograde orbit that takes about a year and a half to complete.
The other nine moons, grouped in clusters of three, have retrograde orbits.
SHEPPARD: They're going around the planet in the opposite direction that Jupiter rotates.
Jupiter's moons range in size from shrimpy satellites to whopping space hulks.
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