Washington DC: A path-breaking new study has found 12 new moons sitting far beyond the orbit of Neptune, reports say. The researchers were hunting for a mysterious ninth planet when they stumbled up on the moons.
It all began in March last year as a team of researchers first glimpsed the moons from the Cerro Tolo Inter-American Observetory in Chile, according to a report in The Guardian. However, it took more than year before the team to zero in on the moons lying hidden in Neptune’ orbit.
“It was a long process,” Said Scott Sheppard, the lead researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC.
Nine of the new moons make up a group that orbit Jupiter in the opposite direction to the planet’s spin, each taking around two years to finish the course.
They are believed to be ‘remnants’ of larger celestial bodies that were splintered after having collided with asteroids, comets and other moons.