Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Astronomers find 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter, including an "oddball"

Ученые открыли 12 новых спутников Юпитера Researchers discover a dozen new moons of Jupiter
Guillermo Lane | 21 July, 2018, 04:24

As NPR science correspondent Joe Palca reports, the 12 newest moons were announced today. The two inner moons take less than a year to orbit Jupiter.

Eleven of the twelve new moons follow these conventions, but Valetudo is the odd one out. Uranus and Neptune are in the row with 27 and 14 moons respectively, according to the current space information.

A moon is simply a rock in orbit around a planet, and there is now no minimum size for something to be called a moon. The newly discovered satellites increase Jupiter's lead in the Solar System as the planet with the most moons - although the space around Saturn is pretty crowded, too. Sheppard is an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution for Science.

"Jupiter just happened to be in the sky near the search fields where we were looking for extremely distant Solar System objects", he explained.

All of the newfound bodies are small in size, as reported on the official website of the Carnegie institution.

Why are we just now hearing about it?

The orbit of "oddball" Valetudo, shown in green, compared to the retrograde moons. "So, the whole process took a year". Those 2017 moons were labeled S/2016 J1 and S/2017 J1.

Researchers say the new Jupiter moons weren't seen before because they are tiny - the biggest ones are only about two miles across. Nearly all of Jupiter's prograde moons are believed to be fragments of a larger moon that broke apart.

They all turned out to be moons of Jupiter. The researchers think they're what's left of three larger bodies that broke apart after running into comets or asteroids.

Man Dies Of Bacterial Infection After Eating Oysters In Restaurant
Health officials also said that this is the first confirmed case and death of Vibrio vulnificus in Sarasota County this year. Suspected cases of Vibrio vulnificus need to be immediately treated with antibiotics to improve their survival.


Finally, there are retrograde moons.

Nine of the new moons are part of a distant swarm of moons that orbit Jupiter in the opposite direction of its spin rotation.

Sheppard and his colleagues have proposed naming the oddball moon Valetudo, after a minor goddess and great-granddaughter of the Roman god Jupiter. What makes it odd, however, is its maverick orbit: it is the only prograde Jovian satellite discovered to date to orbit at the same distances as the retrograde moons.

This new "oddball" moon is more distant and more inclined than the prograde group of moons and takes about one and a half years to orbit Jupiter. This unusual orbit makes it prone to collisions with the retrograde moons that are moving in the opposite direction.

"We were able to go a little bit fainter than anyone has been able to go in the past", Sheppard said, "and that's why we were able to find these new moons". "Head-on collisions would quickly break apart and grind the objects down to dust", Dr. Sheppard said.

It's actually going head-on into these retrograde objects. "Valetudo is like driving down the highway on the wrong side of the road", Sheppard tells Sample. Other than that, not much is known about it or the other confirmed moons.

This survivor could be the last remnant of a once-larger prograde moon that collided with an object to create the retrograde moons.

SCOTT SHEPPARD: So we could also search for Jupiter moons while looking for things that are well beyond Pluto. As for how many ultimately will be found, no one knows for sure.

Here's a number in the news - 79. Sheppard expects there could be even more small moons lurking out there. That's very surprising, because in the long run such an orbit is bad news.

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