Even Bigger Family

Published: Saturday 15 June 2002

Astronomers have recently discovered 11 small moons encircling Jupiter. The team of astronomers led by Scott Sheppard and David Jewitt from the University of Hawaii had previously found 11 new moons of Jupiter. This brings the total of Jupiter's satellites to 39, more than any other planet's. "We found them in a deliberate survey with the world's largest digital camera last December," said Jewitt. "By following suspect objects for a few months, we were able to eliminate asteroid interlopers to settle on our final set of 11 irrefutable satellites," explains Jewitt. "These moons are faint and small and probably just a few kilometres or miles in diameter," he adds. Researchers agree that all these 11 new objects belong to the irregular satellite class, which means that that they have large elliptical orbits around the giant planet.

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