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Jupiter Has A Whopping 69 Discovered Moons

First Posted: Jun 14, 2017 05:56 AM EDT
Jupiter Has 69 Moons
Two more natural satellites have been discovered for Jupiter, upping the count to 69 known moons.
(Photo : USA news & more/YouTube screenshot)

The largest known planet of the solar system, Jupiter, has also got a whopping number of moons in proportion to its size. Researchers studying the satellites of the gas giant planet have reportedly increased the known number of its moons to 69 -- after two more natural satellites were detected for the massive world.

The two new moons, known as S/2016 J1 and S/2017 J1, were detected by astronomers during March 2016 and March 2017 during surveys of the Kuiper Belt. According to Gizmodo, each of the newly discovered moons is incredibly tiny and measures only a mile in width. S/2016 J1 takes approximately 1.65 years to orbit Jupiter, and S/2017 J1 takes about 2.01 years to complete the same.

“We were continuing our survey looking for very distant objects in the outer solar system, which includes looking for Planet X, and Jupiter just happened to be in the area we were looking in 2016 and 2017,” researcher Scott S. Sheppard said, as Sky & Telescope reported. "We confirmed they were not lost moons with having over one year of observations on both, giving us two new Jupiter moons and making 69 known moons of Jupiter," Sheppard further wrote.

Incidentally, Jupiter is not the only planet in the solar system that has such a massive number of natural satellites. The ringed planet Saturn gives Jupiter a stiff competition with a repertoire of 62 known moons.

Interestingly, a team of scientists has recently also announced that Jupiter is the oldest known planet in the solar system and was formed within 4 million years after the creation of the Sun. The research team discovered that Jupiter’s core expanded to about 20 Earth masses within 1 million years of the solar system’s formation, followed by a more prolonged increase to 50 Earth masses until at least 3-4 million years after the star system formed.

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