Jupiter: The king of the moons still has twelve more

So far astronomers knew 67 Jupiter moons. Now a team has discovered twelve more satellites. With it: Valetudo, who dances something out of line.

Jupiter: The king of the moons still has twelve more

Jupiter is not only king's planet, but also king of Moons: an international astronomers led by Scott Sheppard of Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington announces discovery of ten or companions of largest planet of our solar system. This means that Jupiter orbits a total of 79 moons of different sizes on highly diverse orbits. The discoveries were announced on Tuesday – as is usual in such cases – online in a IAU circular of International Astronomical Union.

It is a random find: Sheppard and his colleagues were actually on prowl for or prey. With a large telescope, four-metre Blanco mirror of Inter-American Observatory on Cerro Tololo in Chile, researchers were looking for anor big planet far out in our solar system. "Jupiter was at random near celestial regions where we were looking for this far-flung celestial body," says Sheppard. "That's why we could just keep an eye out for Jupiter's previously unknown moons."

With success. A total of twelve new moons went into network. Prior to announcement, however, researchers had to be sure that y were actually moons, not random objects in background, and asteroids flying by. The orbits of two of celestial bodies could be determined quite quickly, ir discoveries were already reported 2016 and 2017. But with or ten objects it took longer – only after more than a year of furr observations were orbits determined precisely enough to report a secure discovery of moons.

Astronomy-Twelve more Jupiter moons discovered an international astronomers has by chance discovered twelve previously unknown Jupiter moons. One of m is circling on an unusual trajectory. © Photo: Time Online "a frontal collision would destroy object"

All new companions are small celestial bodies with diameters of only one to three kilometers. Nine of new moons can be assigned to three groups of companions, which orbit Jupiter far outside retrograde – i.e. contrary to rotational direction of planet – with circulating times of about two years. Astronomers suspect that se satellites were created in clashes of three larger objects. Two of moons Circle in normal orbit with circulating times of about one year on very similar orbits – again, researchers suspect that se are fragments of an originally larger object.

Solar System What is a planet?

In literal sense, a planet is a umherrschwirrender celestial body. In order to be considered a planet according to definition of International Astronomievereinigung (IAU), it must meet three criteria:

1) It moves on a orbit around sun.

2) Its mass is large enough to hold it in hydrostatic equilibrium. Say: It is roughly spherical.

3) It is dominant object of its orbit, which means that over time it has cleared everything else through its gravitational field.

The Solar System

"My (Mercury) far (Venus) declares (Earth) Me (Mars) every (Jupiter) Saturday (Saturn) Our (Uranus) Nine (Neptune) Planets (Pluto)" – This is a slogan for planets of our solar system. The Donkey Bridge lists m in correct order in which sun next Mercury begins.

But beware: Since 2006, Pluto has officially been considered a dwarf planetbecause it does not meet third planet criterion. A controversial decision that will be discussed furr in expert circles. For this re is sometimes a new candidate: Planet X, also called Planet 9, which hides outside Neptune. However, its existence has not yet been proven. Until furr notice, our solar system is now forever motto: "My (Mercury) far (Venus) declares (Earth) Me (Mars) every (Jupiter) Saturday (Saturn) Our (Uranus) night sky (Neptune)"

Astronomers believed that planets in our solar system were well understood. But in meantime hundreds of distant star systems and thus thousands of exoplanets are known to question previous model.

The twelfth of newly discovered moons, team has provisionally baptized in name of Valetudo, great-granddaughter of Jupiter and goddess of hygiene and health in Roman mythology. Valetudo moves on a very unusual trajectory: it is more inclined against normal orbit of or moons and crosses orbits of retrograde circling moons. "This is an unstable situation," says Sheppard, "a frontal collision would destroy object." Perhaps this strange moon is last fragment of a larger companion that has led to formation of retrograde-orbiting lunar groups in collisions with or moons.

Updated Date: 18 July 2018, 12:02

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