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Two new Jovian moons confirmed

'S/2010 J 2' is smallest moon ever spotted from Earth

By Simon Sharwood, 12 Jun 2012

Jupiter's tally of moons has gone up by two, after researchers published their observations of two previously unknown Jovian satellites.

The romantically-named S/2010 J 1 and S/2010 J 2 are both tiny. The former is just three kilometres across. The latter is even smaller, boasting a diameter of just two kilometres. That small dimension is nonetheless noteworthy, as it means the discovering scientists from the University of British Columbia have claimed the crown for spotting the smallest moon so far observed from Earth.

The moons were first spotted in 2003, but are so small it's taken a while to make sure they have properly moon-like orbits, rather than being cosmic freeloaders. The recent publication of a paper, Discovery of two additional Jovian irregulars, means all the necessary i's have been dotted and all the tees crossed to officially add the pair to the now 67-strong list of Jupiter's moons.

On the off-chance you'd like to visit, S/2010 J 1 can be found a mere 23.45 million kilometres from the gas giant, while its smaller cousin is a little nearer at 21.01 million kilometres. ®