More moons discovered around Jupiter

Astronomers Just Announced The Discovery of 12 New Moons Around Jupiter

"We had to observe the new candidate Jupiter moons again a month later and again a year later to confirm they were actually orbiting Jupiter and thus were moons of Jupiter", he said.

The small moon rotates at the distance of the retrograde moons, but it's traveling in the other direction. The runner-up is Saturn, which has 62.

The moons had not been spotted before because they are tiny.

During a quest to find Planet Nine, a mysterious planet believed to be on the edge of our solar system, astronomers discovered something else: 12 new moons around Jupiter. "They were like vacuums, they sucked up all that material and that created the planets", Sheppard explains.

Several other telescopes also confirmed those observations. It takes them about two Earth years to orbit the planet. The confirmation of 10 was announced Tuesday; two were confirmed earlier. Those 2017 moons were labeled S/2016 J1 and S/2017 J1.

No other planet in the solar system has so many satellites. Lines point to Valetudo, the newly discovered "oddball" moon. They are thought to be fragments of a previously crumbled moon. Which direction the moons swing around the planet depends on how they were first captured by Jupiter's gravitational field. They exist in retrograde - going the opposite direction of Jupiter's spin rotation. They are thought to be the remnants of larger parent bodies that were broken apart in collisions with asteroids, comets and other moons. It moved in the prograde motion together with Jupiter and then collided with another object, causing the smaller retrograde-moving moons. The researchers proposed naming the unique find Valetudo after the Roman god Jupiter's great-grandaughter.

"Our other discovery is a real oddball and has an orbit like no other known Jovian moon", Sheppard explained.

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Sheppard said the oddball moon is "likely Jupiter's smallest known moon, being less than 1 kilometre in diameter".

But one moon, tentatively dubbed "Valetudo" (green), is an oddball, orbiting with Jupiter's spin but within the retrograde cluster.

"We're looking for new possible planets and dwarf planets in our solar system, just seeing what is out there", Sheppard said. "Head-on collisions would quickly break apart and grind the objects down to dust". And in fact all the groups of shattered retrograde objects do lend credence to this idea. "Valetudo is like driving down the highway on the wrong side of the road", Sheppard tells Sample.

While the hunt for this planet continues, this major moon haul could help piece together more parts of the jigsaw that is the history of the solar system's earliest years, as elucidating the complex influences that shaped a moon's orbital history can help reveal this. Of Jupiter's 79 moons, 26 remain unnamed, including nine of the 10 new ones. For a long time the number hovered at 69, and now it is 79.

Researchers would like to get a close-up look at the moons.

The team's results are not yet available in a peer-reviewed journal, as Sheppard's team is now running supercomputer simulations to try and figure out how often Valetudo might collide with a retrograde moon. It's just very hard to follow those. It's known as Planet Nine or Planet X. Only the two innermost planets in the solar system, Mercury and Venus, have none.



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