Jupiter’s moons: 12 more discovered, now most in solar system

New moons discovered around Jupiter range in size from 0.6 miles to 2 miles.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Astronomers have discovered 12 new moons around Jupiter, bringing the total number of moons to a record 92.

That’s more than any other planet in our solar system. Saturn, the one-time leader, is in second place with 83 confirmed moons.

Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution, a member of the team, said Jupiter’s moons were recently added to the list kept by the International Astronomical Union’s Asteroid Center.

They were detected by telescopes in Hawaii and Chile in 2021 and 2022, and their orbits were confirmed by follow-up observations.

According to Sheppard, these newest moons range in size from 0.6 miles to 2 miles (1 km to 3 km).

“I hope we can take a close-up picture of one of these outer satellites in the near future to better determine their origin,” he said in an email Friday.

In April, the European Space Agency will send a spacecraft to Jupiter to study the planet and some of its largest, icy moons. And next year, NASA will launch Europa Clipper to explore Jupiter’s moon of the same name, which may contain an ocean beneath its frozen crust.

Sheppard – who discovered a series of moons around Saturn a few years ago and has been involved in 70 moon discoveries around Jupiter to date – hopes to continue adding to his list of moons. both gas giant planets.

Sheppard said Jupiter and Saturn are filled with small moons, thought to be fragments of larger moons that have collided with each other or with comets or asteroids. The same goes for Uranus and Neptune, but they are so far away that it becomes more difficult to observe the moon.

For the record, Uranus has 27 confirmed moons, Neptune 14, Mars two, and Earth one. Venus and Mercury go up empty.

The newly discovered moons of Jupiter have yet to be named. Only half of them, Sheppard says, are large enough — at least 1 mile (1.5 km) or more — to warrant a name.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/nation-world/jupiter-moon-count-jumps-to-92-most-in-solar-system/507-54791cdd-30c4-4483-b7cd-0b4bf1f6fd18 Jupiter’s moons: 12 more discovered, now most in solar system

Edmund DeMarche

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