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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 6, 2003

Astronomers spot new Jupiter moons

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Science Writer

University of Hawai'i astronomers yesterday announced the discovery of seven new moons orbiting Jupiter, bringing to 47 the number of satellites of the largest planet in the solar system.

Astronomers Scott Sheppard and David Jewitt of the University's Institute for Astronomy, working with Jan Kleyna of Cambridge University, used the 8.3-meter Subaru Telescope and the 3.6-meter Canada-France-Hawai'i Telescope to make the discoveries, while associates Yanga Fernandez and Henry Hsieh did further work with the University of Hawai'i's 2.2-meter scope.

The two larger Mauna Kea telescopes are fitted with the two largest digital cameras in the world, allowing the detailed viewing required to find smaller and smaller moons within our solar system. Members of the same team have located 23 other Jupiter moons in the past three years.

Of the seven latest moons, preliminary indications are that two orbit in the same direction as Jupiter's rotation, while five have retrograde orbits, meaning they go in the opposite direction. Harvard Center for Astrophysics researcher Brian Marsden worked out the orbits for the new moons.

The latest discoveries have numbers, but not yet names. The International Astronomical Union's Working Group on Planetary System Nomenclature recently established the names of the 11 Jupiter moons found in 2000. They are Callirrhoe, Themisto, Megaclite, Taygete, Chaldene, Harpalyke, Kalyke, Iocaste, Erinome, Isonoe and Praxidike.

The names are from Greek mythology, and represent the children of Zeus and other figures associated with the supreme Greek god, whose Roman name was Jupiter.

Reach Jan TenBruggencate at jant@honoluluadvertiser.com or (808) 245-3074.