Discovery Of Twelve New Moons Orbiting Jupiter

Researchers, led by Scott S Sheppard from Carnegie Institution for Science in the US, first spotted Twelve New Moons Orbiting Jupiter in last year while they were looking for a possible massive planet far beyond Pluto

One strange thing about this moons around Jupiter is that They were spotted travelling in a strange orbit likely crashed into some of the gas giant Jupiter’s other satellites long ago. Its like transformation of a few worlds into many.

This new 12 moons bringing the total number of natural satellites circling around the king of planets to 79. The findings include 11 normal outer moons and one(1) that scientists call an “oddball.”

Researchers have known that Jupiter had three groups of moons. Those were the Galilean moons, first discovered by Galileo, which formed from a cloud of gas and dust around Jupiter while the giant planet was young.

Two other groups of moons are essentially objects captured by Jupiter’s orbit when they flew too close to the huge planet. Prograde moons travel in the same direction as Jupiter’s rotation but are located beyond the closely orbiting Galileans. Retrograde moons travel opposite to Jupiter’s spin and in the outer reaches of the Jovian system.

11 of the 12 newly discovered moons fit into these prograde or retrograde groups, but not the “oddball” Valetudo. Scientists are very much interested in it because it might tell researchers more about how Jupiter’s moons looked like long ago. An interesting fact about this oddball Valetudo is that it is zipping along in an orbit that is opposite to its retrograde neighbours and that crosses their paths at an inclined angle And It is also Jupiter’s smallest known moon, being less than one kilometre in diameter after this new discovery.

Sheppard was the principal investigator with the research team that made the discovery. He said that his team think that there were three much larger retrograde moons, which were hundreds of kilometres in size. Might be Valetudo hit The parent moons and they were broken apart.

Researchers would like to get a close-up look at the moons, but the trouble is Jupiter lies four times further from Earth than the sun. So a telescope is not able to capture much more than the moons’ orbits. For greater detail, a spacecraft is needed.

NASA spacecraft Juno is orbiting Jupiter right now. But Juno is too close to the huge planet and its field of view is too small to capture images of the planet, Sheppard said. So scientists will have to wait for a future spacecraft, either flying past Jupiter or orbiting it.

Anyhow, this discovery has enlightened us with new information about our solar system. As now we know of this satellites there might be some changes in  NASA’s Europa moon mission planned in the late 2020s or early 2030s. So that we might gather more information about these newly discovered moons.

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