Astronomers discover a dozen new moons orbiting Jupiter and one of them is an oddity

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,683   +124
Staff member

Scott S. Sheppard, who led the team, said Jupiter just happened to be in the sky near the search fields where they were looking for extremely distant solar system objects so they were serendipitously able to look for new moons around Jupiter at the same time.

The discovery actually took place in the spring of 2017 but as Gareth Williams at the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center points out, it takes several observations to confirm an object actually orbits Jupiter. That meant the entire process took a full year.

Nine of the new moons have retrograde orbits meaning they orbit in the opposite direction of Jupiter’s spin. They are thought to be the remnants of larger parent bodies that broke apart as a result of a collision with other bodies like asteroids, comets or other moons.

Two of the new moons are part of an inner group of moons closer to Jupiter that orbit in prograde, or the same direction as the planet’s rotation. Like the others, they, too, are thought to be fragments of a larger moon that slammed into something else.

The final discovery is classified as an “oddball” as it has an orbit unlike any other Jovian moon. It’s small – less than one kilometer in diameter – with a prograde orbit that crosses the outer retrograde moons. Because it’s moving in the opposite direction of the other moons, a head-on collision is much more likely. Such a collision would quickly break apart and grind the object down to dust, Sheppard said.

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GeforcerFX

Posts: 969   +453
Seems odd that the Jupiter probe Juno which has been orbiting and mapping the planet for the last two years didn't discover these.
Indeed, looking at Juno's orbit seems like it would have seen them, looking at the mission's focus though and it may not have the right sensors to find them, seems to be heavily focused on Jupiter's surface.
 

JaredTheDragon

Posts: 682   +434
Seems odd that the Jupiter probe Juno which has been orbiting and mapping the planet for the last two years didn't discover these.
Juno was pretty much a joke, technologically, so I'm not surprised it brought us so little information. Another major issue is Jupiter's charge field itself, which is very powerful - powerful enough to cause the 9 and 11 year heat cycles here on Earth even, as it's Jupiter's influence which causes the minima and maxima relative to the sun.

So any probe to Jupiter will be blasted by very heavy charge (photons), and as a result its instruments receive a massive amount of noise. Perhaps enough to mask distant objects, especially these tiny moons. Observing from the Earth, we don't have that problem, or not in the same way at least.
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 5,479   +3,575
Seems odd that the Jupiter probe Juno which has been orbiting and mapping the planet for the last two years didn't discover these.
Juno was pretty much a joke, technologically, so I'm not surprised it brought us so little information. Another major issue is Jupiter's charge field itself, which is very powerful - powerful enough to cause the 9 and 11 year heat cycles here on Earth even, as it's Jupiter's influence which causes the minima and maxima relative to the sun.

So any probe to Jupiter will be blasted by very heavy charge (photons), and as a result its instruments receive a massive amount of noise. Perhaps enough to mask distant objects, especially these tiny moons. Observing from the Earth, we don't have that problem, or not in the same way at least.
Juno's scientific focus was not to discover new moons. The scientific objectives section at wikipedia clearly states that https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juno_(spacecraft) And if you don't like wikipedia, NASA's Juno overview page https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/juno/overview/index.html also says nothing about discovering new moons. A mission that has no intent of discovering new moons certainly cannot be expected to discover new moons.

Also, I would love to see your credible scientific reference for Jupiter's energy field causing 9 and 11 year heat cycles here on Earth.
 

Capaill

Posts: 1,200   +738
Looks like a ball spinning round a roulette wheel. Which number (moon) is it going to land on? Maybe we just found the Gods' casino hall.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,479   +3,575
Looks like a ball spinning round a roulette wheel. Which number (moon) is it going to land on? Maybe we just found the Gods' casino hall.
When it happens, I wonder if any of the probes or telescopes will capture it. It might take some simulation time, but they could probably estimate when it will happen.
 

Abraka

Posts: 176   +54
Seems odd that after convincing us they are sure how the universe started, and what's the diameter of the universe, and that space can expand faster than light, and other unverified bullshit, they now discover new moons around Jupiter. Here, in our planetary neighborhood. NOW they discovered them? That's how much they know about the universe.