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Astronomers discover twelve more Jupiter moons

In reviewing ground-based data from 2021 and 2022, astronomers have discovered another twelve Jupiter moons, bringing that planet’s total moon population to 92.

All of the newly discovered moons are small and far out, taking more than 340 days to orbit Jupiter. Nine of the 12 are among the 71 outermost Jovian moons, whose orbits are more than 550 days. Jupiter probably captured these moons, as evidenced by their retrograde orbits, opposite in direction to the inner moons. Only five of all the retrograde moons are larger than 8 kilometers (5 miles); Sheppard says the smaller moons probably formed when collisions fragmented larger objects.

One newly discovered moon, dubbed Valetudo, is about 3,000 feet across and orbits in a retrograde orbit that crosses the orbits of several other moons that orbit in the opposite direction. As the article notes, “This highly unstable situation is likely to lead to head-on collisions that would shatter one or both objects.”

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Michael Puckett

    Either that or a near-miss will eject it from the system.

  • Ray Van Dune

    Just imagine the exploration of the Jupiter system that would be possible with a nuclear-powered Starship. It could be based in orbit around Mars, and make years-long surveying trips into the realm of Jupiter’s moons.

    I suspect with nuclear power, the amount of (mono)propellant that would suffice would mean that much of the volume of a Starship could be devoted to living space and supplies to make multi-year voyages feasible, like the sailing ships of old!

  • pzatchok

    I shall call them the ‘dirty dozen’.

  • David Ross

    Valetudo must be a recent capture; I find hard to believe that something almost a kilometer wide could have been missed by Galileo and others.

  • David Eastman

    David Ross: You clearly don’t understand the sheer scale of space. It’s actually quite impressive that we can identify an object that small at that distance with our current best telescopes. Even with our current optics, nobody has actually “seen” these moons, they are simply too dark and too small to be identified by the human eye. They are detected by having a computer compare literally thousands of separate images taken at different times by different instruments. Even the Hubble only has a resolution of 0.014 arc seconds, which means that at the distance of the Moon, Hubble can resolve to about 27 meters. I don’t have my math text handy to remind me how to calculate an arc second at the distance of Jupiter, but it’s FAR above 1 kilometer. Galileo’s little 20x telescope couldn’t even dream of showing something that small.

  • Call Me Ishmael

    “Hubble only has a resolution of 0.014 arc seconds”

    WFC3, the current primary visible-light camera, has a pixel scale of about 0.04 arcsec. The corresponding length at Jupiter is about 150 km.

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