Astronomers have found 12 new moons round Jupiter, placing the whole depend at a record-breaking 92.
That is greater than some other planet in our photo voltaic system. Saturn, the one-time chief, is available in a detailed second with 83 confirmed moons.
The Jupiter moons had been added lately to a listing saved by the Worldwide Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Centre, stated Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Establishment, who was a part of the group.
They had been found utilizing telescopes in Hawaii and Chile in 2021 and 2022, and their orbits had been confirmed with follow-up observations.
These latest moons vary in dimension from 0.6 miles to 2 miles (1 kilometer to three kilometers), in keeping with Sheppard.
“I hope we can image one of these outer moons close-up in the near future to better determine their origins,” he stated in an e mail on Friday.
In April, the European Area Company is sending a spacecraft to Jupiter to check the planet and a few of its largest, icy moons. And subsequent yr, NASA will launch the Europa Clipper to discover Jupiter’s moon of the identical identify, which might harbor an ocean beneath its frozen crust.
Sheppard — who found a slew of moons round Saturn a number of years in the past and has taken half in 70 moon discoveries thus far round Jupiter — expects to maintain including to the lunar tally of each gasoline giants.
Jupiter and Saturn are loaded with small moons, believed to be fragments of as soon as greater moons that collided with each other or with comets or asteroids, Sheppard stated. The identical goes for Uranus and Neptune, however they’re so distant that it makes moon-spotting even more durable.
For the file, Uranus has 27 confirmed moons, Neptune 14, Mars two and Earth one. Venus and Mercury come up empty.
Jupiter’s newly found moons have but to be named. Sheppard stated solely half of them are sufficiently big — a minimum of 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) or so — to warrant a reputation.