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Astronomers discover 12 new moons of Jupiter
Posted: Sun, Mar 9, 2003, 3:41 PM ET (2041 GMT)
Jupiter (NASA) University of Hawaii astronomers announced last week that they had discovered 12 additional moons orbiting Jupiter, bringing the giant planet's total over 50. Hawaii astronomers Scott Sheppard and David Jewitt reported the discovery of seven moons on March 4, then followed up with the eighth on March 6 and four more one day later. The discoveries were made with two of the largest digital astronomical cameras in the world, mounted on the 8.3-meter Subaru telescope and the 3.6-meter Canada-France-Hawaii telescope, both atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii. All 12 of the new moons are believed to be small bodies no more than a few kilometers in diameter orbiting Jupiter in distant, retrograde orbits; they were too small and far away from Jupiter to be found by previous searches. The discoveries bring the total number of moons orbiting Jupiter to 52, well ahead of second-place Saturn and its 30 moons. The discoverers estimate that there may be up to 100 moons at least one kilometer in diameter around Jupiter.
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