Jupiter has a dozen new moons, including one 'oddball'

Rodiano Bonacci
Luglio 19, 2018

He and his colleagues announced the discovery on 17 July. In 2017, the group reported two additional Jovian moons. His team at Carnegie, along with collaborators at the University of Hawaii and Northern Arizona University, was hunting for objects far beyond Pluto. "Magnificent desolation", Sheppard says, is the ideal.

Incidentally, this brings the total known moons of Jupiter to 79.

"This moon is going down the highway the wrong way", Sheppard said.

Jupiter's moons range in size from shrimpy satellites to whopping space hulks. If you said four, you might be Galileo. The circumstances of the moons' orbits lend further support to the view that they were formed long after Saturn and its larger moons coalesced from a primordial cloud of gas and dust. "We could kill two birds with one stone: survey for Jupiter moons and very distant objects at the same time". The orbits of 9 other small Jovian moons are yet unknown.

Scientists proposed naming it Valetudo, after Roman god Jupiter's great-granddaughter, the goddess of health and hygiene.

So, what of this final "oddball" moon? As for the number of satellites that orbit Jupiter, Williams said he dreads "to think how many objects are in the hundred-meter range". They were looking for Planet Nine. 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. One possibility is NASA's Europa moon mission planned in the late 2020s or early 2030s.

Astronomers group Jupiter's moons by their distance from the planet as well as their orbital direction. A team of astronomers is reporting the discovery of a dozen new moons circling the giant gas planet. Of the twelve, only three moons orbit in a prograde direction, and are closer to Jupiter.

Most moons, including Earth's, have prograde orbits. These all travel in retrograde, or the opposite of Jupiter's rotation, while two more, also though to be moon remnants, travel in prograde.

None of the dozen moons is more than a couple of miles across.

Valetudo is something of 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. What's more, those orbits intersect.

It doesn't behave like the other moons, which tend to fall into a few categories. To check whether this could have happened, the researchers are working on supercomputer simulations of these orbits to calculate how many times an object with Valetudo's orbit could have collided with the retrograde moons in the solar system's lifetime. "These objects are probably some intermediate-type composition, half-rock and half-ice, something like that". We're using the most advanced digital cameras in the world ... This matter became part of the planets themselves.

The team's results are not yet available in a peer-reviewed journal, as Sheppard's team is now running supercomputer simulations to try and figure out how often Valetudo might collide with a retrograde moon. The researchers even wonder if the crashes are responsible for the swarms of smaller Jovian moons we see today.

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