Aug 20, 2017 | Updated: 10:39 AM EDT

Jupiter Already Has 69 Moons In Total, As Astronomers Discover Two New Moons Orbiting The Gas Planet

Jun 14, 2017 05:09 PM EDT

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Astronomers discovered two more new moons orbiting Jupiter making its total moons 69.
(Photo : NASA/Getty Images) The two newly discovered 68th and 69th Jupiter moons were named as S/2016 J1 and S/2017 J1.

The most recent update cataloged is that Jupiter only has 67 moons in total. However, astronomers Scott Sheppard from the Carnegie Institution for Science along with his colleagues, David Tholen and Chadwick Trujillo discovered two new more moons orbiting the gas planet, making it a total of 69 moons.

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According to Popular Mechanics, the two new moons making Jupiter moons to a total of 69 were deemed the names of S/2016 J1 and S/2017 J1. S/2016 J1 and S/2017 J1 were identified to orbit at a distance of 20,600,000 km and 23,500,000 km from Jupiter, respectively.

Yet, it was mentioned that Sheppard and his colleagues actually didn’t set out to look for the two moons intently. "The last two years, Jupiter’s been near where we’ve been surveying, so we just kind of took some fields around Jupiter so we could look for Jupiter moons as well as very distant objects,” Sheppard explained.

“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," Sheppard added. The moons described to be only about a mile (1.6 kilometers) wide were mentioned to be seen last March 2016 and March 2017 while they were surveying the Kuiper Belt.

With that said, Inverse reported that Sheppard noted how the 69 moons of Jupiter just garnered “nice” comments from Twitter followers when the information was made public by the Scientific American Twitter page. He then concluded that they might get off 69 into 70 real quick as they identified that there are several more out there.

Nonetheless, Sheppard believes that it is a good publicity for Jupiter. He then expects that it would only take a year before the 70th moon of Jupiter will be discovered. It was then said that with Saturn having 62 moons, Jupiter might take the lead for being the planet with the most orbiting moons around it.


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