Ten new moons-including one 'oddball'-discovered around Jupiter

NewsScienceWatch- A dozen new moons orbiting Jupiter have been discovered by astronomers... by mistake Joe Mellor

The solar system's ocean worlds might be the most promising place to look.

The "oddball" planet lies in between the inner and outer circles of moons: it orbits Jupiter in prograde and takes around a year and a half to orbit Jupiter. Following is a transcript of the video.

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: Several times a year, Scott Sheppard heads to telescopes around the world to search for distant objects in our solar system. But its total lunar eclipse is more than ever before than any other planets including Saturdays, whose 62 endorsement has runner-up. While Earth only has one moon, and some planets, like Mercury and Venus, have none, others have dozens, namely Jupiter and Saturn. And if that's not enough astronomers recently discovered 12 new ones to add to the list.

"There was no eureka moment", said Sheppard, who led the team of astronomers.

Scientists made their latest discovery when they were actually looking for another extraterrestrial body - Planet X, the planet that is suspected to exist somewhere beyond Pluto.

The team also discovered one particularly odd moon in the new batch. When Jupiter and the other giant planets were forming, the solar system was a disk and gas and dust that surrounded the infant Sun. Nine of the new discoveries are found in this group.

The gas giant now has a total of 79 known moons, by far the most of any planet in the solar system.

Ten new moons-including one 'oddball'-discovered around Jupiter
Ten new moons-including one 'oddball'-discovered around Jupiter

And each moon stays in its respective lane.

Most of the newly discovered moons orbit opposite to Jupiter's spin, what's known as a retrograde orbit. But it's not part of the same group. It has an orbit like no other known Jovian moon. That's how many moons astronomers have now identified orbiting the planet Jupiter.

This is an unstable situation. Nothing against Earth's handsome Luna, but according to The Verge the number of confirmed moons around Jupiter is now up to 79, thanks to ten - or 12, depending on who's counting and how - recent confirmations by the International Astronomical Union.

One of these new moons turned out to be a bit of a rebel. "Valetudo likely has collided with some of the retrograde moons in the past and what we see today is the last remnant of a once much larger moon that has none been ground to dust from collisions in the past". The new ones were found because technology has gotten better and better over the years. It affects the ocean's tides and, more importantly, also helps us understand how to eat a Jaffa Cake. And we're going a little deeper than in the past as well.

It also shows that, while we continue to gaze out into the universe for new discoveries, we are certainly not done discovering new objects, in our very own "backyard".

Size isn't a requirement to be a moon - there's no such thing as a dwarf moon.

The team proposed naming that tiny moon Valetudo, after the goddess of health and hygiene. Now, all that's left is to name the new moons. 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.


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