Jupiter and its four largest moons.
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Image courtesy NASA
More and more Moons of Jupiter
News story originally written on March 20, 2003
Astronomers have discovered a dozen new moons of Jupiter
so far in 2003. Scott Sheppard and David Jewitt of the University of Hawaii
and Jan Kleyna of Cambridge University led the team of astronomers who discovered
the new moons. Jupiter now has a total of 52 known moons. All of the new moons
are very small, ranging between one and four kilometers in diameter. They all
orbit Jupiter in the direction opposite Jupiter's rotation; such orbits are
The moons were discovered using telescopes on the top of the volcano Mauna
Kea in Hawaii. For now, the moons all have temporary names. They are called
S/2003 J1 through S/2003 J12 ("S" for satellite; "2003"
for the year they were discovered; "J" means they are moons of Jupiter;
and the 1 through 12 at the end indicates the order each was discovered). Later
the moons will be given "real" names. Astronomers think there may
be as many as 100 moons with a diameter of one kilometer or greater orbiting
Jupiter! Jupiter, the largest planet in our Solar System, has more known moons
than any other planet.
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