12 New Moons Found Orbiting Jupiter, One of Them Being an “Oddball”: Scientists

SCIENCE

A total of 79 moons orbits Jupiter including these 12

11 normal moons and one “oddball” found orbiting the largest planet of the solar system. An excellent team of Scientists led by S. Sheppard spotted these moons in 2017 while hunting for some distant solar system objects.

Back then in 2014, the same team founded some objects and traces of a whole new planet, beyond Pluto, in the solar system explaining the similarity of the orbits of several extremely tiny distant objects. Jupiter just happened to be in the sky near the search fields where we were looking for extremely distant Solar System objects, so we were serendipitously able to look for new moons around Jupiter while at the same time looking for planets at the fringes of our Solar System” said the chief scientist, Sheppard.

Further explaining on how it took a year’s time to confirm the same; Gareth Williams, associate director of the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Centre, said “It takes several observations to confirm an object actually orbits around Jupiter. So, the whole process took a year.”

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Talking about the oddity of the 12th moon, Dr. Sheppard explained how it is going down the highway in the wrong direction. The “oddball” is moving amid the retrograde moons but orbits in the prograde direction. Consequently, there are higher possibilities of head-on collisions between the prograde and the retrograde moons. “Head-on collisions would quickly break apart and grind the objects down to dust,” said Sheppard, alarming about the unstable situation.

 

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