How a Desert Mountain Telescope Revealed Jupiter's Odd New Moon

Jovian moons' orbits

Jovian moons' orbits

The discovery of the 12 new moons brings the total number of Jovian moons to 79, more than are known to circle any other planet in our cosmic neighbourhood.

Jupiter is the largest and most massive of all the solar system's planets, so it's no surprise it has a lot of moons. Sheppard, who is broadly interested in the formation of solar systems and has been involved in the discovery of 48 of Jupiter's known moons, realized this was the flawless opportunity to advance two separate research goals with the same telescope data.

We reached out to Carnegie Institution for Science Professor Scott S. Sheppard to ask about the "oddball" description.

Two of the new discoveries are part of a closer, inner group of moons that orbit in the prograde, or same direction as the planet's rotation. So, unlike the closer-in prograde group of moons, this new oddball prograde moon has an orbit that crosses the outer retrograde moons.

Dr Sheppard said: "This is an unstable situation". "Head-on collisions would quickly break apart and grind the objects down to dust".

According to the team, these moons, and especially Valetudo, likely did not form at the same time as Jupiter, but rather are probably the tiny remnants of larger objects that suffered numerous collisions as they circled the gas giant. In the new work, astronomers announced another 12 facilities open in the spring of 2015 with a four-meter telescope of a name of Victor Blanco in Chile.

Jupiter's moon Valetudo (pointed out with orange bars) moves relative to background stars in these images taken with the Magellan Telescopes at the Las Campanas Observatory.




Jupiter has several different types of moons. On the other hand, among these, there is the smallest moon of Jupiter found to date, Valetudo, named after the daughter of Jupiter and the goddess of hygiene in the Roman mythology. These moons orbit Jupiter in the opposite direction.

If we were to host a system-wide beauty contest among the planets and accepted natural satellites as a valid skill, Jupiter would have a pretty unfair advantage. These moons take about two years to orbit Jupiter. The main theory on the origin of these moons is that were of larger moons of ancient plants that were broken apart during some ancient cosmological event, most likely due to collisions with comets or asteroids.

The moons were discovered a year ago, but the IAU typically requires a year of calculations to confirm the existence of newly discovered moons. Scientists were using the camera to look for a large but elusive planet beyond Pluto, dubbed Planet X or Planet Nine. Which helps explain why Jupiter has so many moons in the first place.

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.

Jupiter got 12 new moons on Tuesday, July 17. Those moons are also believed to be remnants of a larger moon that was smashed to pieces.

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. Because they are most likely clues to the origins of the planet itself.

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