Jupiter's moon count reaches 79, including tiny 'oddball'

Astronomers Just Discovered 12 New Moons Around Jupiter And One Of Them Is Very Bizarre

Researchers discover a dozen new moons of Jupiter

Scientists were looking for objects on the fringes of the solar system previous year when they pointed their telescopes close to Jupiter's backyard, according to Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institute for Science in Washington.

Researchers in the U.S. stumbled upon the new moons while hunting for a mysterious ninth planet that is postulated to lurk far beyond the orbit of Neptune, the most distant planet in the solar system. One of the finds is an oddball that moves in the opposite direction from its neighbors.

All of the newfound bodies are small in size, as reported on the official website of the Carnegie institution.

The nine retrograde moons recently found in Jupiter's orbit go around the planet in roughly two years.

In June 2017, the same team discovered two mile-wide moons and five lost moons.

For example, a large amount of gas and dust would push very small moons (moons between 1 and 3 kilometers (.6 and 1.9 miles) in diameter) toward their planet. The lost moons were initially sighted in 2003, but scientists could not define their exact orbits and lost track of them. The moon Valetudo is in the retrograde cluster, but it orbits in a prograde direction and crosses the orbits of several other satellites. Nine of them orbit farther out, in a retrograde direction - that is, opposite to the direction of the giant planet's rotation. The moons orbit in three different groupings and are thought to be the remnants of three bodies that were broken apart in earlier collisions.


The Magellan telescope in Chile captured these recovery images of the oddball Jovian moon, known as Valetudo, in May. These all travel in retrograde, or the opposite of Jupiter's rotation, while two more, also though to be moon remnants, travel in prograde.

In terms of what it should be called, one of the leading suggestions has been Valetudo, the goddess of health and hygiene, and the great-granddaughter of the Roman god Jupiter.

Astronomers have announced the discovery of 10 more moons of Jupiter, including one "oddball" that appears destined to crash into other satellites sharing its orbital highway.

"There was no eureka moment", said Sheppard, who led the team of astronomers. "Head-on collisions would quickly break apart and grind the objects down to dust".

It's actually going head-on into these retrograde objects.

"It's like driving a auto on the wrong side of the highway", Sheppard said in a statement.


Jupiter's southern hemisphere is pictured by NASA's Juno spacecraft on the outbound leg of a close flyby of the gas-giant planet in an image released on July 2, 2018.

All of the moons orbit much further out than the Galilean moons you may have heard of: Europa, Ganymede, Io and Callisto.

A dozen new moons have been found orbiting Jupiter, including 11 normal moons and one "oddball" moon, according to Carnegie Institution for Science.

It has most likely collided with other moons, breaking it down into the fragment it is today.

A long time ago, when our solar system was forming, this would have been easier because Planet Nine wasn't always living on the edge.

Valetudo is more than just the odd moon out; it's also a serious collision hazard.


But why are scientists just now finding these moons?

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