The team of astronomers reported that more than a dozen new satellites hovered over Jupiter. After this discovery, Jupiter’s satellite count has reached 79, which is true for any planet.
However, the discovery of these satellites was not intentional or planned. When astronomers searched for objects on the edge of the solar system, they discovered these tiny satellites near Jupiter.
Astronomers confirmed two satellites earlier, and they announced 10 more satellites on Tuesday. Due to the unusual orbit of astronomers, one of the satellites is also known as “eccentric.”
Telescopes in Chile, Hawaii and Arizona were used for discovery and confirmation.
Newly discovered satellites are weaker
Jupiter is home to the largest satellite in the solar system, Woodside, with a diameter of 3,273 miles (5,268 kilometers).
However, these smalls are smaller. Sizes range from about one-sixth of a mile (1 km) to 2.5 miles (4 km).
Jupiter has a diameter of 88,846 miles, or 142,984 kilometers.
A team led by astronomer Scott Shepard of the Carnegie Institute of Science in Washington identified 12 small Jupiter satellites, including ten satellites described on Tuesday.
The researchers concluded that these satellites may have formed near Jupiter in the early solar system and are likely to be captured by Jupiter’s powerful gravitational pull.
“Jupiter is like a big vacuum cleaner because it is too big,” Sheppard said. “These objects start to orbit around Jupiter, not into it. So we think they are between rock asteroids and ice comets. So they may be half-ice and half-rock.”
Valetudo – “Weird Ball”
One of the newly discovered satellites, Valetudo (pronounced Val-eh-TOO-doh), was named after the great-granddaughter of the ancient Roman god Jupiter, the goddess of health and hygiene.
Valetudo orbits the planet in the same direction as Jupiter’s rotation.
“Valetudo is driving along the highway in the wrong way, so it is likely to collide with these other objects. It may collide with them over time,” Sheppard said.
The researchers also added that other planets may also have undiscovered satellites.