A team of astronomers has discovered two new moons orbiting Jupiter, bringing the total number of known moons around the gas giant to 92.
The discovery was made using the Subaru telescope in Hawaii and the Magellan telescope in Chile, which captured images of the moons moving in opposite directions from each other.
The two new moons, named S/2023 J 1 and S/2023 J 2, are both relatively small, with diameters estimated to be about 1 and 2 kilometers, respectively. They are located in the outer region of Jupiter’s moon system, beyond the orbit of the larger moon Callisto, and are likely to be remnants of larger bodies that were disrupted by collisions or tidal forces.
The discovery of the new moons is significant not only for expanding our knowledge of Jupiter’s moons but also for testing theories of solar system formation and evolution.
Jupiter’s powerful gravity and large mass make it a kind of cosmic vacuum cleaner, capable of capturing or ejecting small bodies in its vicinity. By studying the orbits and properties of the newly found moons, scientists can gain insights into the early history of the solar system and the dynamics of planetary migration.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Karen Teramura of the University of Hawaii, said in a press release: “We’re excited to announce the discovery of these two new moons, which add to the diversity and complexity of Jupiter’s moon system.
Each new moon is like a puzzle piece that helps us understand the bigger picture of how the solar system formed and evolved. We hope to continue exploring Jupiter’s moons and unlocking the secrets of the universe.