Astronomers discover 12 new moons of Jupiter, taking total to 92

Astronomers have found 12 new moons around Jupiter, bringing the total to a staggering record-breaking 92, proving that the giant planet has even more moons than previously thought.

No other planet in our solar system has more than that. With 83 confirmed moons, Saturn, the former leader, comes in a close second.

The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center recently added the Jupiter moons to its list, according to team member Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution.

In 2021 and 2022, they were found with the aid of telescopes in Hawaii and Chile, and further studies verified their orbits.

These most recent moons, according to Sheppard, are between one and three kilometers in diameter (0.6 miles to 2 miles).

He wrote in a Friday email, "I hope we can envision one of these outer moons close-up shortly to identify their origins better."

The European Space Agency will send a spacecraft to Jupiter in April to conduct research on the planet and a few of its largest, icy moons. Additionally, NASA will launch the Europa Clipper the next year to investigate the same-named moon of Jupiter, which may have an ocean hidden beneath its icy surface.

Sheppard, who recently contributed to the discovery of 70 moons around Jupiter and recently made a number of moon discoveries around Saturn, anticipates continuing to increase the number of moons orbiting both gas giants.

According to Sheppard, Jupiter and Saturn are crowded with tiny moons that are thought to be the remains of once-giant moons that collided with one another, comets, asteroids, or both. The same holds true for Uranus and Neptune, however their great distance makes moon-spotting considerably more challenging.

For the record, Uranus has 27, Neptune 14, Mars 2, and Earth 1 have confirmed moons. Mercury and Venus are ineffective.

The newly found moons of Jupiter have not yet been given names. Only half of them, according to Sheppard, are large enough to merit a name (at least 1.5 kilometers in length).