10 new moons discovered around Jupiter, but something odd is going on

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Jupiter's moons are getting a sense of what that feels like now, with a newly identified resident careening toward conflict with everyone else. These satellites are part of a large group of moons that orbit in retrograde far from Jupiter. Now, thanks to a search that was primarily for Planet Nine, astronomers have discovered even more - 79 in total. He and his team have been photographing the skies with some of today's best telescope technology, hoping to catch sight of this mysterious ninth planet.

Four centuries after Jupiter's first moons were spotted by Galileo, astronomers say they've found 12 more.

The discovery means Jupiter, the oldest and largest planet in the solar system, has more moons than any of the other seven.

"This is an unstable situation", said Dr Scott Sheppard from the Carnegie Institution for Science team. "So that's why we're able to find these new moons". But, the faith had other plans for the scientists and exposed 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter to them.

He said: "It takes several observations to confirm an object actually orbits around Jupiter".

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Images of the oddball moon - now called Valetudo - from the Magellan telescope in Chile in May, 2018.

Given their small size, if the moons had existed in the early days of the solar system, the gas and dust that surrounded the Sun at that time would have exerted a strong drag on them, causing them to lose speed and spiral in to crash into Jupiter.

Even more, Valetudo is very freaky, according to the scientists. "It's like it's going down the highway in the wrong direction". Like the others, they, too, are thought to be fragments of a larger moon that slammed into something else.

Each new moon takes about two years to circle the planet. Nine of them orbit farther out, in a retrograde direction - that is, opposite to the direction of the giant planet's rotation.

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. This odd orbit makes it prone to collisions with the retrograde moons that are moving in the opposite direction.

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PALCA: Many of Jupiter's moons form from the same spinning disk of stuff that eventually coalesce to form the planet.

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.

The giant planet region is where the largest planets in our solar system formed, and it's devoid of objects now because the planets gobbled up all of the material to form. At the same time, they watched for Planet Nine or smaller, distant dwarf planets in the background.

The oddball could be the last remaining remnant of a once-larger moon that gave rise to the retrograde retinue during previous smash-ups. Whether that be an exoplanet orbiting a distant star or perhaps a still-unseen planet lurking at the edge of the Solar System, it's a challenging endeavor.

Before Sheppard's team conducted their survey, there were 69 known Jovian moons, but there's always been reason to believe there are quite a few more.

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Once they finish running and analyzing the simulations, the team plans to publish the results in early 2019. And one of them is quite the oddball. They're proposing to call it Valetudo, named after the Roman God Jupiter's great-granddaughter. "And so when she told me about Valetudo, which is the goddess of hygiene, I said 'That's it, that's what we're naming it'".