12 new moons discovered around Jupiter; one of them could spell trouble
Scientists just discovered 12 new moons orbiting the planet Jupiter, and they’re… interesting.
12 new moons have been discovered orbiting the planet Jupiter. They were not known until discovered via the 6.5-meter Magellan Telescopes. The data captured therein took a year to study, but was just confirmed.
“It takes several observations to confirm an object actually orbits around Jupiter. So, the whole process took a year,” said Gareth Williams of the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center.
Image by CarnegieScience.Edu.
Ever since Galileo discovered the four moons that we've known of since the year 1610, we've observed that they circle Jupiter in counterclockwise fashion as seen in the video below—they actually orbit the same direction as the planet itself spins, which is known as prograde orbit. Two new ones have now been added to those original four, going the same direction. Because these all have similar orbital distances and angles of inclination around the planet Jupiter, they’re thought by scientists to be fragments of a larger moon that was broken apart, likely by another orbiting moon going the opposite direction.
Of the remaining 10 moons orbiting farther out, nine of them are orbiting in retrograde, or clockwise orbit, as seen in the below video. In other words, the opposite direction from that of the planet’s spin.
The final moon, proposed to be called Valetudo after the Roman god Jupiter’s great-granddaughter, is orbiting in a prograde fashion which means it’s orbiting in a reverse direction from the nine other new moons that are near it. Valetudo's orbit crosses that of some of the nine newly discovered retrograde-orbit moons and will likely crash into one or more of them, eventually. The rogue moon is only one kilometer in size, which indicates it once was much larger and has possibly collided with others in the past.
“It is as if the moon is traveling the wrong way down a crowded highway. This is an unstable situation,” Scott S. Sheppard, who helped lead the team, told The Independent. “Head-on collisions would quickly break apart and grind the objects down to dust.”
All of the new moons are less than two miles (3.2 km) wide, which explains why it’s been so difficult to spot them until much more sensitive telescope equipment was deployed.
The discovery brings the total number of objects orbiting the planet, both prograde and retrograde, to 79—the most of any planet in our solar system.
Pay attention to the decisions made by the provinces.
- China leads the world in numerous green energy categories.
- CO2 emissions in the country totaling more than all coal emissions in the U.S. have recently emerged.
- This seems to be an administrative-induced blip on the way towards a green energy tipping point.
NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller is coming back to Big Think to answer YOUR questions! Here's all you need to know to submit your science-related inquiries.
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Or how I learned to stop worrying and love my tsundoku.
- Many readers buy books with every intention of reading them only to let them linger on the shelf.
- Statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb believes surrounding ourselves with unread books enriches our lives as they remind us of all we don't know.
- The Japanese call this practice tsundoku, and it may provide lasting benefits.
Calling all big thinkers!
The Boring Company plans to offer free rides in its prototype tunnel in Hawthorne, California in December.
- The prototype tunnel is about 2 miles long and contains electric skates that travel at top speeds of around 150 mph.
- This is the first tunnel from the company that will be open to the public.
- If successful, the prototype could help the company receive regulatory approval for much bigger projects in L.A. and beyond.
Money makes the world go 'round. Unfortunately, it can make both children and adults into materialists.
- Keeping a gratitude journal caused children to donate 60 percent more to charitable causes.
- Other methods suggested by researchers include daily gratitude reflection, gratitude posters, and keeping a "gratitude jar."
- Materialism has been shown to increase anxiety and depression and promote selfish attitudes and behavior.
Anatomy and physiology professor David Harper claims a recent study in The Lancet is flawed.
- The low-carbohydrate group in a recent Lancet study were typically middle-aged, obese, sedentary, diabetic smokers.
- The study was not a randomized, controlled, double-blind experiment.
- Harper has been in ketosis for six years, and says it has profound effects on cancer patients, among other chronic ailments.
A mind-bending paradox questions the nature of reality.
- Boltzmann Brains are hypothetical disembodied entities with self-awareness.
- It may be more likely for a Boltzmann Brain to come into existence than the whole Universe.
- The idea highlights a paradox in thermodynamics.
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