Published: Sat, July 21, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

'Oddball' Moon Among 12 New Discoveries Orbiting Jupiter

'Oddball' Moon Among 12 New Discoveries Orbiting Jupiter

For example, the discovery that the smallest moons in Jupiter's various orbital groups are still abundant suggests the collisions that created them occurred after the era of planet formation, when the Sun was still surrounded by a rotating disk of gas and dust from which the planets were born. But then there was one more, a moon the researchers term the "oddball" of the bunch.

When you're scanning space for a distant planet, that's potentially lurking at the far edges of our solar system, it certainly pays off to keep an eye on what's going on a little closer to home!

In the spring of 2017, Jupiter happened to be in an area of sky the team wanted to search for Planet Nine. "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".

They were using a more powerful telescope than ever before, allowing the team to peer in at higher resolutions, across a wider field of view than other observations in the past.

The Magellan telescope in Chile captured these recovery images of the oddball Jovian moon, known as Valetudo, in May. Sheppard expects there could be even more small moons lurking out there. The new moons were found in three distinct clusters and are thought to be debris left over when three larger bodies were broken apart in earlier collisions. The retrograde moons take roughly two years to orbit the planet.

The team also discovered one particularly odd moon in the new batch. It has a prograde orbit at a distance where the rest of Jupiter's moons have retrograde orbits.

None of the dozen moons is more than a couple of miles across.

Aside from the hulking Galilean moons that stretch thousands of miles in diameter, most of Jupiter's moons, including the new twelve, are between a mile and a few tens of miles across.

The EU fined Google $5bn and Trump is furious
Justifying its decisions by saying, Google said that open source platforms need to balance the needs of everyone to be successful. Prevented Android phone makers from selling devices that run "forked" versions of the operating system.

The black-sheep moon boasts a 1.5-year orbit that, unfortunately for big-shot Jupiter, crosses the outer retrograde planetoids-a cosmic recipe for destruction.

The team's results are not yet available in a peer-reviewed journal, as Sheppard's team is now running supercomputer simulations to try and figure out how often Valetudo might collide with a retrograde moon. That's a lot of moons.

The realm of the giant planets - between Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune - is largely devoid of small objects.

If Planet Nine exists, it could be the runt of the giant planets, Sheppard said. The planet must have acted like a vacuum, sucking up all the material that was around it. This hypothetical large prograde moon may also have formed some retrograde moon groupings. This odd moon could have come from a stray comet trapped by Jupiter's gravitational pull and destroyed long ago by collisions with the planet's retrograde moons.

The last of the team's discoveries is the strangest of them all.

Even oddballs need names.

Jupiter's moons are sort of like opposite lanes on a highway. That moon, named Valetudo after Roman goddess of health and hygiene, is also in the outer swarm but moves in the opposite direction of its peers.

"It's like driving a auto on the wrong side of the highway", Sheppard said in a statement.

Like this: