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Last Updated:  Thursday, 6 March, 2003, 17:38 GMT
New moons for Jupiter
By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor

Astronomers have announced the discovery of yet another new batch of moons in the Solar System - this time around Jupiter.

New moon, University of Hawaii
One of the new moons is the small white patch in the middle of the image
The new satellites bring Jupiter's tally to 47 compared with 30 for Saturn, the planet with the second most number of moons.

Jupiter's new satellites were discovered in early February 2003 by Scott Sheppard and David Jewitt of the University of Hawaii, US, working with Jan Kleyna of Cambridge University, UK.

They were found using the world's two largest digital cameras at the Subaru Telescope (8.3-metre diameter) and the Canada-France-Hawaii (3.6-metre diameter) telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

The satellites were formally announced to the astronomical community on 4 March.

Jupiter, Nasa
Jupiter is now some way ahead of Saturn in the number of its moons
The new moons are all small; two to four kilometres in size, and orbit Jupiter at great distances from the planet.

Two of the seven new satellites (S/2003 J1 and S/2003 J6) have an orbit around Jupiter that is in the same direction as Jupiter's spin).

The other five have distant so-called retrograde orbits like the majority of the known irregular satellites of Jupiter.

Professor David Jewitt, Astronomer
"The big puzzle is to find out how were these things captured"

Galileo's Jupiter mission winds down
27 Feb 03 |  Science/Nature
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22 May 02 |  Science/Nature
Strange glows on Jupiter moon
10 Mar 03 |  Science/Nature

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