Based on a recent announcement made by astronomers, Jupiter’s list of moons just got bigger, as 10 additional moons belonging to the giant gas planet were discovered. This means that the planet will now have a total of 79 moons.
The discovery of the new moons was made accidentally
A team of astronomers from the Carnegie Institution for Science discovered the moons by accident, as their intention was to actually search for objects from the Solar System that could be located beyond Pluto. In order to hunt for cosmic objects, the scientists used the Blanco 4-meter telescope, which is located in Chile. The 10 moons that the astronomers found have a diameter of just 1 to 4 kilometers.
Jupiter’s recently discovered moons have been confirmed
As a matter of fact, these moons were discovered last year, in March, but only now they have been confirmed by the International Astronomical Union. Back then, astronomers found, in fact, 12 new Jovian moons, with only two of them being confirmed in June 2017. Additional observations were needed, as the scientists had to make sure that the objects were neither comets nor asteroids, but moons.
One special moon amongst Jupiter’s additions
Two of the new moon’s orbit near the massive planet, spinning in the same direction as Jupiter, which makes them prograde moons. On the other hand, seven of the newly confirmed moons orbit in the opposite direction, and at a farther distance from the planet. These are known as being retrograde moons. But there’s another moon, a quite intriguing one, which was named Valetudo by the astronomers.
The reason why this one, in particular, captured everyone’s attention is the fact that it is located far away from Jupiter, similar to the retrograde moons, but it is orbiting in the same direction as the planet, like the prograde moons. We hope to find out more about Valetudo in the near future.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.