Jupiter has at least 69 natural moons
, reports Scientific American
, with the latest distant dots of joy uncovered via images taken by NASA's Juno spacecraft.
Until recently the cataloged satellites totaled 67 in number. But only the innermost 15 of these orbit Jupiter in a prograde sense (in the direction of the planet's spin). The rest are retrograde, and are likely captured objects - other pieces of the solar system's solid inventory that strayed into Jupiter's gravitational grasp.
That population of outer moons is mostly small stuff, only a few are 20-60 kilometers in diameter, most are barely 1-2 kilometers in size, and increasingly difficult to spot.
Now astronomers Scott Sheppard, David Tholen, and Chadwick Trujillo have added two more; bringing Jupiter's moon count to 69.
Perfect for your pirate base/villain lair/secret Space CIA prison/unsettling scientific experiments lab/taco stand.
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