Jupiter’s Moon Rely Jumps to 92, Most in Photo voltaic System

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Astronomers have found 12 new moons round Jupiter, placing the full rely at a record-breaking 92.

That’s greater than some other planet in our photo voltaic system. Saturn, the one-time chief, is available in an in depth second with 83 confirmed moons.

The Jupiter moons have been added not too long ago to an inventory stored by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center, mentioned Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution, who was a part of the staff.

They have been found utilizing telescopes in Hawaii and Chile in 2021 and 2022, and their orbits have been confirmed with follow-up observations.

These latest moons vary in measurement from 0.6 miles to 2 miles (1 kilometer to three kilometers), in line with Sheppard.

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“I hope we are able to picture considered one of these outer moons close-up within the close to future to raised decide their origins,” he mentioned in an e-mail Friday.

In April, the European Space Agency is sending a spacecraft to Jupiter to check the planet and a few of its greatest, icy moons. And subsequent yr, NASA will launch the Europa Clipper to discover Jupiter’s moon of the identical identify, which may harbor an ocean beneath its frozen crust.

Sheppard — who found a slew of moons round Saturn just a few years in the past and has taken half in 70 moon discoveries up to now round Jupiter — expects to maintain including to the lunar tally of each fuel 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 mentioned. The similar goes for Uranus and Neptune, however they’re so distant that it makes moon-spotting even tougher.

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 mentioned solely half of them are large enough — at the least 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) or so — to warrant a reputation.

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