Science News Desk – Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, now has the largest number of moons. Since 20 December, the Minor Planet Center (MPC) has published the orbits of 12 previously unreported moons of Jupiter. This discovery increased the list of Jovian moons from 80 to 92. MPC’s orbital calculations confirm that the new moons are in orbit around Jupiter. With so many moons, Jupiter is now the planet with the most moons in our solar system.
Dozens of new moons have been detected in observations by astronomer Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, Sky&Telescope.org reports. Scott’s observations of these new 12 moons have been published by the Minor Planet Center (MPC). The Jovian system now has 92 confirmed moons, and with this figure, Jupiter now has the most moons. Some of the newly discovered moons complete their orbits in 340 days and are very small and distant. Furthermore, 9 of these 12 moons are reported to be among the planet’s 71 outermost Jovian moons, with orbits longer than 550 days.
The report further states that three of the newly discovered moons are among the other 13 that orbit in a retrograde direction and lie between the large and near-Galilean moons and the distant orbiting retrograde moons. In addition, data from Shepard’s observations have reportedly confirmed the return of the last “missing” Jovian moon, S/2003 J10. The observations have extended the track of its orbit to 18 years.