Space & Astronomy
Discovery of 12 new moons around Jupiter breaks Saturn's record
By T.K. Randall
February 9, 2023 · 6 comments
Jupiter with one its largest moons - Europa - on the left. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 ESA
Jupiter's status as the planet with the most moons in our solar system has now officially been restored.
There is no denying that Jupiter is big - with a diameter 11.2 times that of the Earth, this iconic gas giant is 2.5 times the mass of all the other planets in our solar system combined.
When it comes to moons, Jupiter is no slouch either - up until 2019 it was believed to have 80 moons, cementing its place as the planet with the most moons, but then in October of that year astronomers discovered 20 new moons orbiting Saturn, bringing its total up to 83.
Now, though, new observations have confirmed a further 12 moons around Jupiter, bringing its total up to 93 and once again cementing its place as king (at least for now).
While some of Jupiter's moons are large and would likely be considered planets themselves if they directly orbited the Sun, most of them are quite small - some being only a few kilometers in diameter.
Out of those that were newly discovered, 9 of them are retrograde (meaning that they orbit the planet backwards) and are situated far out from the gas giant, while the other 3 are slightly closer.
Astronomers believe that there could be several hundred more moons in orbit around Jupiter, just waiting to be discovered.
Finding names for them all, however, will likely be quite a task.
Source: Extreme Tech
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