Dozen new moons discovered around Jupiter, count reaches 79

Jupiter now has 79 known moons

That brings the total number of Jovian moons to 79. "This is an unstable situation", continued Sheppard.

Artist rendering of the orbital paths around Jupiter. The hope is that these moons help us better understand the early days of our solar system, so we'll keep our fingers crossed for some interesting discoveries as they're researched further. According to Gizmodo, two of them had already been announced by the team in 2017, when the world found out that Jupiter had 69 moons. The lost moons were initially sighted in 2003, but scientists could not define their exact orbits and lost track of them. Sheppard's team speculates Valetudo could be a remnant of a collision between one or more moons. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveals the intricate, detailed beauty of Jupiter's clouds as arranged into bands of different latitudes.

Regarding the origin of moons, scientists hope that these would have formed after the planet's formation as remains and they also believe that Jupiter must have attracted all the solids around it by acting as a vacuum. These regular satellites consist of an inner group of four moons that orbit very closely to the planet and a main group of four Galilean moons that are Jupiter's largest moons.

Such collisions would have been very common earlier in Jupiter's history, when most of the moons were still forming from the gas and dust surrounding the young planet. It has been nicknamed Valetudo, after the Roman god Jupiter's great-granddaughter.

It's likely that even more small moons are still waiting to be found. The most recent one (Juno's 14th perijove) occurred on July 16, and the prior flyby was on May 24.

Sheppard agrees it's problematic.

These new moons aren't exactly record-breakers in terms of size.

Because Jupiter is also a bright planet, astronomers have had to deal with the issue of glare and scattered light affecting the space where moons can exist. Now, all that's left is to name the new moons.

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It means Jupiter, the oldest and largest planet in the solar system, has more moons than any of the other seven. Lead researcher Scott S. Sheppard from Carnegie Institution for Science said. In March previous year, he was at the Blanco four-meter telescope in Chile. They realized they could observe Jupiter at the same time.

Jupiter's moons are sort of like opposite lanes on a highway. This instrument has a large camera sensor, allowing Sheppard and his team to search the entire vicinity of Jupiter with just a handful of exposures.

The good news is that a collision isn't likely to happen any time soon. As they report today in an online notice from the International Astronomical Union, all have now been confirmed by other telescopes. Because they are most likely clues to the origins of the planet itself. So a telescope isn't able to capture much more than the moons' orbits.

They theorize that Valetudo was a larger object, probably tens of kilometres in diameter.

These are images of one of the new moons, named Valetudo.

Astronomers accidentally spotted the tiny satellites while searching for a possible massive planet beyond pluto known as Planet X. But seriously, does something less than a mile across deserve to be called a moon?

But one of the newly discovered moons - and the strangest - offers a fresh clue.

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