It is not a new fact that Jupiter has dozens of moons. More specifically, the oldest and most massive planet of our solar system has 67 natural satellites. However, astronomers just discovered 12 new moons around Jupiter, and one of them is very bizarre.
Yesterday, the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center announced the discovery of 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter bringing the total for Jovian moons to 79. This discovery, however, was not meant to happen as the team of scientists from the Carnegie Institution for Science, led by Scott Sheppard, was searching for space objects beyond Pluto’s orbit.
Astronomers discovered the 12 new moons around Jupiter by fortune
“We’re looking for new possible planets and dwarf planets in our solar system, just seeing what is out there,” said Sheppard. But, the faith had other plans for the scientists and exposed 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter to them.
Trying to detect dim space objects and dwarf planets in our solar system with the Blanco telescope, at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, the scientists noticed that Jupiter came in the telescope’s field of view. Surprisingly, some unknown and very faint objects appeared around the gas giant.
“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.
One of the newly found Jovian moons is very bizarre, the astronomers said
The recently discovered new Jovian moons are tiny, the maximum size in diameter being 2 miles. On the other hand, among these, there is the smallest moon of Jupiter found to date, Valetudo, named after the daughter of Jupiter and the goddess of hygiene in the Roman mythology.
Even more, Valetudo is very bizarre, according to the scientists. More specifically, this moon presents a prograde orbit around Jupiter at a distance where other four moons have retrograde orbits. What’s truly bizarre is that this set up prone to four moon-to-moon collisions.