Astronomers have announced that they have accidentally discovered 12 new moons that are orbiting Jupiter, the oldest and biggest planet of our solar system.
The International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center published the orbits for 12 newfound Jovian moons on Tuesday. With the discovery of a dozen moons, the total number of Jupiter’s moons has now reached 79, a scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in D.C.
Sheppard’s team at Carnegie, along with collaborators at the University of Hawaii and Northern Arizona University, was actually looking for objects beyond Pluto.
“We’re looking for new possible planets and dwarf planets in our solar system, just seeing what is out there,” Sheppard said.
But they came across the moons, that were placed in front of their telescope. The astronomers, during their survey in March 2017, realised that Jupiter had moved into their field of view from Blanco four-meter telescope, at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.
“We were able to go a little bit fainter than anyone has been able to go in the past,” Sheppard said, “and that’s why we were able to find these new moons.”