'Oddball' among 12 new moons discovered around Jupiter

Twelve new moons were found orbiting Jupiter while searching for Planet Nine.
Roberto Molar-Candanosa  Carnegie Institution for Science

Twelve new moons were found orbiting Jupiter while searching for Planet Nine. Roberto Molar-Candanosa Carnegie Institution for Science

Gareth Williams at the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center used the team's observations to calculate orbits for the newly-found moons. "It takes several observations to confirm an object actually orbits around Jupiter", Williams said. Bringing the now known total to 79.

Team leader Dr Scott Sheppard said: 'It's a real oddball. "It's basically like you're driving down the highway in the wrong direction", Sheppard says.

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". If moon circles a planet in the opposite direction of a rotating planet, that orbit is retrograde. That tilt has the weird little moon crossing the paths of those outer retrograde moons.

The oddball could be the last remaining remnant of a once-larger moon that gave rise to the retrograde retinue during previous smash-ups.

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. This cosmic clique is thought to be fragments of a single larger moon that broke apart. The retrograde moons take roughly two years to orbit the planet.

The orbit of a dozen previously unknown moons around Jupiter are shown here, including the "oddball" discovery, Valetudo. In 2017, the group reported two additional Jovian moons.

"The question is, are there more Valetudos, weird objects that have these different orbits", Sheppard said.

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10 new small moons have been found around Jupiter, bringing its total to 79. So, by that logic, moons of that small size must have formed after the era of planet formation, a time when a disk of gas and dust swirled around the sun and formed planets, according to the statement. For a long time the number hovered at 69, and now it is 79.

Here are the 4 largest Galilean moons of Jupiter - Callisto, Europa, Io and Ganymede, which can be easily seen from Earth.

Jupiter's family has really grown since Galileo first recorded its four largest moons in 1610. Some of that debris was captured as moons.

There are almost 200 moons in our solar system. In March past year, he was at the Blanco four-meter telescope in Chile. That was the primary goal of the observations, but it so happens that Jupiter was nearby in the sky where they were looking.

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

PALCA: One thing that helped was an especially large camera attached to the Blanco telescope.

The newly discovered moons await naming, a task for which the public may be enlisted, so it's a good idea to brush up on the IAU's naming rules for Jovian moons - and which names have already been taken. Astronomers around the world, including Sheppard, have been looking for Planet Nine ever since. Thus, they orbit in the same direction as the planet. And more than a third of those belong to a single planet: Jupiter. "These objects are probably some intermediate-type composition, half-rock and half-ice, something like that".

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