This figure shows the different groups of moons in orbit around Jupiter, with the newly discovered moons in the bold. The “oddball” of the moon, known as Valetudo, can be seen in the green in a prograde orbit that crosses over the retrograde orbits. Credit: Roberto Molar-Candanosa, with thanks to the Carnegie Institution for Science.
Scientists have discovered 12 previously unknown moons in orbit around Jupiter, and one of them is a real oddball.
During the hunt for the proposed Planet Nine, a massive planet that some believe could lie beyond Pluto, a team of scientists, led by Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science, find the 12 moons in orbit around Jupiter. With this discovery, Jupiter now has a whopping 79 known orbit moons — more than any other planet in the solar system.
Of the 12 newly discovered moons, 11 “normal”, according to a statement from the Carnegie Institution for Science. The 12th moon, however, is described as “a real oddball,” because of his unique job and because it is probably also Jupiter is the smallest known moon, less than 1 km (0.6 miles) in diameter, Sheppard said in the statement. [Photos: The Galilean Moons of Jupiter]
In the spring of 2017, these researchers were looking for Planet Nine, in the region beyond Pluto, and “Jupiter just happened to be in the sky in the near of the fields, where we were looking for,” He said. This gave the team a unique opportunity to search for new moons around Jupiter, in addition to objects past Pluto, according to the statement.
Image taken in May 2018 with Carnegie’s 6.5-metre Magellan telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Lines point to Valetudo, the newly discovered “oddball” of the moon.
(Credit: Carnegie Institution for Science.)
Nine of the newly discovered moons have retrograde orbits, meaning they orbit in the opposite direction of the planet spin. These satellites are part of a large group of moons in orbit in retrograde far from Jupiter. In fact, Jupiter’s 67 previously discovered moons, the 33 outer moons all have retrograde orbits.
Two of the newly discovered moons orbit much closer to Jupiter and have a prograde orbit, meaning they orbit in the direction of the planet. These are part of a group of prograde moons that orbit closer to Jupiter than the retrograde moons. Most of these prograde moons in less than a year to travel around the planet.
These two groups of prograde and retrograde moons of the existence of “irregular” satellites, or moons, whose orbits have an irregular or noncircular form.
In addition to these two groups, Jupiter “regular” satellites, or moons with nearly circular orbits. This regular satellites consist of an inner group of four moons that orbit very closely together with the planet, and one of the most important group of the four Galilean moons, the largest moons of Jupiter.
The newly discovered “oddball,” the moon has a prograde orbit, but it orbits further from Jupiter than the other moons in the larger prograde group, and it takes about one and a half Earth years to get a job. The satellite in the oddness comes from the small size and the fact that, although it is in the realm of the retrograde moons, it is a job in the opposite direction. Researchers have proposed the naming of the “oddball” Valetudo, after the Roman goddess of health and hygiene.
Valetudo is more than just the odd moon; it is also a serious collision hazard.
Because it’s a job in the opposite direction of the nine “new” retrograde moons, and on the paths, there is a big chance that it will hit one of them, according to the statement.
“This is an unstable situation,” He said. “Head-on collisions would quickly break apart and milling the objects into dust. “Some of the moons of Jupiter and the moon groups, including the “oddball,” would have formed from collisions like this, according to the statement.
While the researchers are not sure if this is exactly what happened, is to understand how and when Jupiter’s moons formed could help scientists better understand the early solar system as a whole, ” the statement said.
For example, a large amount of gas and dust would be pushing very small moons (moons between 1 and 3 kilometers (.6 and 1.9 km) in diameter) in the direction of their planet. This means that the gas and dust could not have been present at the earlier, larger moons collided and created these small moons. So, by that logic, the moons of small size, which must have formed after the epoch of planet formation, a time when a disk of gas and dust swirled around the sun and the planets formed, according to the statement.
Original article on Space.com.