A dozen new moons found orbiting Jupiter, pushing total to 79

A dozen more small moons were recently discovered

Jupiter already had the most moons in the Solar System, but now scientists have discovered twelve new ones bringing the total up to 79.

The researchers discover new Solar System bodies, and calculate their orbits, by photographing the same part of the sky weeks or months apart.

It also reminds me that the question of "what is out there" is always an open one to be explored."Tabetha Boyajian, an astronomer at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge who also was not part of the team, called the discovery of the new moons "cool" in an email".

Gareth Williams works at the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center, and he used the team's observations over the years to figure out the orbits for the newly spotted moons.

The discoveries were made more than a year ago, and the orbits of two of the moons were confirmed soon after they were found. It's only about one kilometer in diameter, by far the smallest of the newly discovered moons. A team led by astronomer Scott Sheppard out of the Carnegie Institution for Science discovered the moons in 2017 using one of the most powerful digital cameras in the world, the Dark Energy Camera.

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Even more, Valetudo is very weird, according to the scientists.

Most of the prograde moons orbit much closer to the planet than the retrograde moons do.

While researchers aren't certain if this is exactly what happened, understanding how and when Jupiter's moons formed could help scientists to better understand the early solar system as a whole, the statement said. These regular satellites consist of an inner group of four moons that orbit very closely to the planet and a main group of four Galilean moons that are Jupiter's largest moons.

They are thought to be the remnants of three once larger moons that broke apart during collisions with asteroids, comets or other moons.

The Carnegie Institution for Science is a private, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with six research departments throughout the U.S. Since its founding in 1902, the Carnegie Institution has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research.

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Astronomers describe the twelfth new Jovian moon as an "oddball".

With the moon's orbit set at an angle to the rest, this means that Valetudo doesn't take the riskiest path around Jupiter, but it does dive through the orbits of the retrograde moons, inviting a collision at some point. It's out where the outer, retrograde moons are, but it's orbiting Jupiter in the prograde direction, driving into the oncoming traffic. Those moons are also believed to be remnants of a larger moon that was smashed to pieces.

None of the new moons are more than 2 miles in diameter, which explains why they have not been noticed before. Nine of them orbit farther out, in a retrograde direction - that is, opposite to the direction of the giant planet's rotation. Two of them go round in a prograde motion, in the same direction to Jupiter's spin. There are also small interior moons that orbit in the same direction as Jupiter, which are referred to as prograde moons.

By looking at these outer moons we can get an insight into what the objects were like that ended up forming the planets we see today.

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