An amateur astronomer discovered a previously unknown moon around JupiterAfter a detailed study of old photos of the planet he took ground telescope“I am proud to say that this is the first planetary moon to be discovered by an amateur astronomer,” Kai Li said in a Sky and Telescope report detailing the discovery.
According to RT, Jupiter may have dozens or even hundreds of undiscovered moons orbiting around it. This huge planet has a large gravitational field that allows it to pick up space debris in its orbit. Jupiter currently hosts at least 79 moons, and the number continues to grow.
This discovery is added to the Karm group of Jovian (Jupiter) satellites, and the Karm group is known as strange small space rocks, which move in the opposite direction to the rotation of Jupiter, and the group travels around Jupiter at an extreme inclination relative to the orbital plane of the giant planet, according to NASA. .
Karem is the largest moon in the group, with an average radius of 14 miles (23 kilometers), and the space rock was discovered by astronomer Seth Barnes Nicholson at the Mount Wilson Observatory in July 1938. Karem is also the mother of the group, giving it his name, and the group includes 22 known moons.
Astronomers believe that Karem was an asteroid that was captured by Jupiter’s gravity, and that its group is the pieces that separated from it after a cosmic collision.
Li made his new discovery when searching online a data set from 2003 collected by researchers at the University of Hawaii using the 3.6-meter Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, or CFHT for short.
He paid special attention to the photographs he collected in February of that year, when the moons were at their zenith.
This happened due to a phenomenon known as opposition, when the Sun and a particular planet appear in opposite parts of the Earth’s sky.
Our home planet was sitting mid-line between the Sun and Jupiter in February 2003, allowing astronomers on Earth to clearly see the starlit Jupiter system.
Li used observations from another telescope called “Subaru” to establish the body’s arc for 22 days, which showed that the candidate moon is most likely linked to Jupiter’s gravity. This baseline allowed him to find and confirm the presence of the moon along with other data sets as well.
This rock is currently identified as EJc0061, but it does not have an official name yet, and when that happens, it will likely end with the letter e like Carme.
NASA officials explained that choosing a name ending with the letter e comes in accordance with the policy of the International Astronomical Union to designate outer satellites with retrograde orbits.