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out of this world

An amateur astronomer spotted a new moon orbiting Jupiter

From millions and millions of miles away, amateur astronomer Kai Ly made a big discovery.

In June, Ly began looking closely at telescope images of Jupiter taken by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in 2003. Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, with 79 acknowledged moons, and Ly was curious to find any new ones. While studying images from the night of Feb. 24, Ly spotted three possible moons. Moving on to images captured a few days later, Ly couldn't see two of those potential moons, but did see the third, Sky and Telescope reports. 

Ly was able to further trace this moon's orbit on images taken between March and April 2003, and later in 2018. In total, there was an arc of 76 observations over 15.26 years, which made Ly feel secure in saying that this was the first planetary moon identified by an amateur astronomer. It was a pretty amazing feat, especially since Ly said the search for moons was simply "a summer hobby before I return to school."