- Jul 31, 2021
Jupiter already had a large number of moons of its own, and now. Scientists have discovered 10 new moons about which the scientists had no knowledge before. The discovery of the new moons orbiting Jupiter brought the total number of the moons to an astonishing 79. No other planet in the solar system has this number of moons orbiting them.
The 10 new moons that have been recently discovered evaded detection because they are neither large nor bright like some of Jupiter’s other moons like Europa and Ganymede. The Jupiter new moons are tiny and obscured by gas and dust. It took the scientists about a year to confirm that these moons actually do exist. Nine of the moon’s orbit in the opposite direction of Jupiter’s spin. Two of the moon’s orbit in the same direction as Jupiter’s rotation and both of these moons are likely pieces of another larger moon which broke apart a long time back. But among these, the last moon has drawn all the attention of the scientists and they are calling it an “oddball”.
Scott Sheppard, Carnegie scientist and leader of the team behind the discovery, said, “Our other discovery is a real oddball and has an orbit like no other known Jovian moon. It’s also likely Jupiter’s smallest known moon, being less than one kilometer in diameter.” However, this new “oddball” may have very little time left as it takes about a year and a half to orbit Jupiter which brings it in the path of those retrograde moons and which eventually and inevitably will lead to collisions. “This is an unstable situation,” said Sheppard. “Head-on collisions would quickly break apart and grind the objects down to dust.”
The discovery of these moons was an accident as the scientists were actually looking for planets beyond Pluto’s orbit. They did not find their theoretical yet undiscovered Planet X or sometimes known as Planet 9 but they did find these Jovian moons. Sheppard said, “Jupiter just happened to be in the sky near the search fields where we were looking for extremely distant solar system objects. So we were serendipitously able to look for new moons around Jupiter while at the same time looking for planets at the fringes of our solar system.”