‘Oddball’ among 12 new moons discovered around Jupiter

‘Oddball’ among 12 new moons discovered around Jupiter

Dr. Gareth Williams of the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center used the team's observations to calculate orbits for the new Jovian moons.

This brings the total of known Jovian moons to 79. And these new moons point to a violent and destructive past. Because they formed between the two belts, the moons are probably composed of rock and ice.

The other newly discovered range up to three kilometers in diameter. The new ones were found because technology has gotten better and better over the years.

In the spring of 2017, Jupiter happened to be in an area of sky the team wanted to search for Planet Nine.

US researchers have discovered 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter, bringing the total number of the planet's known moons to 79, researchers said on Tuesday.

"It's allowed us to cover the whole area around Jupiter in a few shots, unlike before, and we're able to go fainter than people have been able to go before", says Sheppard. As for the number of satellites that orbit Jupiter, Williams said he dreads "to think how many objects are in the hundred-meter range". Jupiter is not in the frame, but off to the upper left.

One moon in particular caught the researchers' attention.

Team leader Dr Scott Sheppard said: 'It's a real oddball.

"Valetudo is like driving down the highway on the wrong side of the road", Sheppard wrote in an email to Fast Company.

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This, as you can imagine, has the potential to end poorly for our oddball friend and at least one of the other moons that are heading in the opposite direction.

Eleven are "normal" moons, with nine of them part of a distant outer swarm that orbit in the retrograde, meaning they move in the opposite direction to Jupiter's spin. Valetudo might be a shattered remnant of one such prograde collider. These all travel in retrograde, or the opposite of Jupiter's rotation, while two more, also though to be moon remnants, travel in prograde.

To shed light on how super-Earths might form, scientists looked at stars that host super-Earths to see how many also possessed Jupiter-like worlds.

"The newly discovered retrograde moons take about two years to orbit Jupiter".

This means, unlike those closer to Jupiter, it crosses the outer retrograde moons. That's a lot of moons.

The existence of so many small satellites suggests that they arose from cosmic collisions after Jupiter itself formed, more than 4 billion years ago. "So understanding these moons helps us understand what the planets were originally made from". Most big objects in the solar system all orbit the Sun and spin in the same sense (the motion is counterclockwise when looking down from above the Earth's north pole). The telescope in Chile, with a powerful digital camera that can shade against glare and scattered light, provided Sheppard and his collaborators with a wider and more detailed view than had been possible before.

Elucidating the complex influences that shaped a moon's orbital history can teach scientists about our solar system's early years. The 12th and final moon, however, has instead been labeled an "oddball" by the team.

The IAU requires moons of Jupiter to have names related to the Roman god Jupiter.

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