Astronomers discovered 12 new moons in Jupiter’s orbit in 2021 and 2022. That discovery bumped up Jupiter’s moon count to 92 moons, which is more than any other planet in our solar system. Previously, Saturn had the record for the most confirmed moons at 83.
Jupiter’s new moons have been added to the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center’s list of moons. Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution, who was one of the people to discover the moons, has also participated in 70 other moon findings around Jupiter.
The 12 moons were found using telescopes in Hawaii and Chile, and range from 0.06 miles to two miles in diameter. According to Sheppard, only around six of these moons are big enough to be named. This is because named moons must be at least a mile in diameter.
The European Space Agency will be sending a space probe to Jupiter to study its new moons. NASA plans to study Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, with a probe called Europa Clipper in 2024. Sheppard stated there is a possibility for more moons to be discovered around Jupiter.
Experts say these new moons could be the products of comets and asteroids colliding with once bigger moons.
[Source: Associated Press; PBS.org]