By Jove! Astroboffins spot 12 new spanking moons around Jupiter

Jupiter

Researchers discover a dozen new moons of Jupiter

Until the announcement this morning by the International Astronomical Union of the discovery of an additional 10 moons about the gas-giant planet.

It is further away than the prograde moons, taking about one and a half years to orbit the planet.

In June 2017, the same team discovered two mile-wide moons and five lost moons. "These outer moons of Jupiter are remnants of chaos", Sheppard said.

Scott Sheppard: "We believe these objects were probably captured by Jupiter a long time ago and they are grouped in their orbits". Nine of these moons are from a previously discovered cluster of moons that are in what astronomers call a retrograde orbit.

PALCA: And they found 12 new moons. "This is an unstable situation", Sheppard noted.

"We were able to go a little bit fainter than anyone has been able to go in the past, and that's why we were able to find these new moons", asserted Sheppard.

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He said: "It takes several observations to confirm an object actually orbits around Jupiter". Jupiter is not in the frame and is off to the upper left. Sheppard added that his team performed similar moon searches at Uranus and Neptune - but came up empty.

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

"Valetudo is like driving down the highway on the wrong side of the road", Sheppard wrote in an email to Fast Company.

Jupiter's biggest moon, Ganymede, also has an underground salt ocean - although this ocean may be too salty to be habitable. Two of them have relatively close-in orbits, going in the same direction as Jupiter's spin.

They also have a retrograde orbit, or the opposite direction to the spin of Jupiter on its axis. This unusual orbit makes it prone to collisions with the retrograde moons that are moving in the opposite direction. 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. Nine others orbit with Jupiter's outer retrograde moons in the opposite direction.

The team think this small "oddball" prograde moon could be the last-remaining remnant of a once-larger prograde-orbiting moon that formed some of the retrograde moon groupings during past head-on collisions.

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Our solar system's oldest and biggest planet, Jupiter, has many moons. That's a lot of moons.

Jupiter, the fifth planet from the Sun, has a diameter of 142,984km.

The giant planet region is where the largest planets in our solar system formed, and it's devoid of objects now because the planets gobbled up all of the material to form. Because they are most likely clues to the origins of the planet itself. The hope is that these moons help us better understand the early days of our solar system, so we'll keep our fingers crossed for some interesting discoveries as they're researched further.

There are almost 200 moons in our solar system.

Once they finish running and analyzing the simulations, the team plans to publish the results in early 2019. It may sound chaotic, but since "they're at different distances, they don't really ever interact with one another", Sheppard says.

Dubbed Valetudo, after the goddess of health and hygiene, great-granddaughter of the Roman god Jupiter, this peculiar object orbits the planet in a year and a half and seems to have an intriguing history.

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