Article written by: Heather Alexander, Education Officer
Space is always changing. New things are discovered frequently, and the latest discovery was made inside our own solar system. Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, now has a staggering 79 moons in its orbit. Compare this to Earth’s lonely, singular moon and this shows you just how monstrous the gas giant planet is in size.
The cloud-covered face of Jupiter (Image credit: NASA)
The discovery was made last year by a team of astronomers (The Carnegie Team) who were on the look out for planets lying beyond Pluto. While observing a particular area of the sky, Jupiter just so happened to be in that same area and so they turned their attention to the gas giant as well as searching for other planets on the fringe of our solar system. It took a whole year to confirm the objects actually orbiting around Jupiter, but now that confirmation has come about, the total has gone up to an impressive 79.
Initially the astronomers thought some of these moons could be a cluster of asteroids passing by the gas planet, however they were upgraded to moons. They orbit Jupiter in the opposite ...