Scientists have found 12 previously unknown moons around the planet Jupiter, and say that one is a suicidal ‘oddball’.
A breakthrough discovery has revealed 12 new moons hiding in plain sight whilst orbiting Jupiter, our neighbor just past Mars.
One of the new natural satellites is what scientists call an “oddball”, mainly because it flies in the opposite direction to the remaining 78 objects orbiting Jupiter.
— The Life Pile (@thelifepile) July 13, 2018
Measuring just a kilometer across, it is believed that small moon might have been responsible of colliding and breaking previously existing moons, and might continue to do so until it is destroyed itself.
The “oddball” has been named Valetudo, after the great-granddaughter of the Roman god Jupiter.
Until this moment, as many as a total 79 satellites have been found orbiting Jupiter. But scientists believe that the actual total number to be closer to 100.
— The Life Pile (@thelifepile) July 3, 2018
Saturn follows Jupiter as the planet with the second-most moons orbiting it in our solar system with a total 62 moons.
None of the newly discovered moons measures more than 2 kilometers across, which might explain why they hadn’t been found before.
They were found while researchers were looking for the theoretical Planet X (also known as Planet 9), the outermost planet of our solar system. While they were looking for a world beyond Pluto, the super sensitive telescopes picked up the tiny moons.