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Astronomer Scott Sheppard has discovered two new moons around Jupiter bringing the total of known moons to 69 while looking for Planet X and other very distant objects in the outer solar system.
Continuing his survey looking for Planet X and other very distant objects in the outer solar system, astronomer Scott Sheppard discovered two new barely visible moons, S/2016 J 1 and S/2017 J 1 (“S” for satellite, “J” for Jupiter), around Jupiter. For now all that’s really known is the character of their orbits:
S/2016 J 1: Sheppard discovered this moonlet during an observing run on March 8, 2016, with the 6.5-m Magellan-Baade reflector at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Averaging 20,600,000 from Jupiter, it’s in an elongated orbit inclined 140° with an eccentricity of 0.14. It takes 1.65 years to orbit the planet.
S/2017 J 1: The second new find was recorded on March 23, 2017, using the venerable 4-m Victor Blanco reflector at Cerro Tololo Inter-american Observatory in Chile. This moon likewise is far from Jupiter, at an average distance of 23,500,000 km. In this very elongated orbit, inclined 149° with an eccentricity of 0.40, the moonlet takes 2.01 years to go around Jupiter.
Continuing their survey looking for Planet X, let’s hope that astronomers will make other unexpected discoveries n the outer solar system.