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JUPITER
General
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Atmosphere and Planetary Composition Great Red Spot Belts and Zones Jupiter's Rings Jupiter's Moons Statistics Activities, Web Links

JUPITER'S MOONS

Jupiter has four large moons and dozens of smaller ones (there are about 67 known moons so far). Galileo first discovered the four largest moons of Jupiter, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto in 1610, using a 20-power telescope; these moons are known as the Galilean moons.

The moons of Jupiter are (in order by their distance from Jupiter): Metis, Adrastea, Amalthea, Thebe, Io, Europa, Ganymede (the biggest), Callisto (the second biggest), Leda (the smallest), Himalia, Lysithea, Elara, Ananke, Carme, Pasiphae, Sinope, and many newly-discovered moons that haven't been named yet.

METIS
Metis is the closest moon to Jupiter. Metis is 25 miles (40 km) in diameter and orbits 79,500 miles (128,000 km) from Jupiter, within its main ring. Metis and the next moon, Adrastea, are probably the source of the dust in this ring. Metis has a mass of 9 x 1016kg. It orbits Jupiter in 0.294780 (Earth) days; this is faster than Jupiter rotates on its axis. Metis was discovered by Stephen Synnott (Voyager 2) in 1980.
ADRASTEA
Adrastea is the second-closest moon to Jupiter. Adrastea is 12 miles (20 km) in diameter and orbits 80,000 miles (129,000 km) from Jupiter, within its main ring. Adrastea and the first moon, Metis, are probably the source of the dust in this ring. Adrastea has a mass of 1.91 x 1016kg. It orbits Jupiter in 0.29826 (Earth) days; this is faster than Jupiter rotates on its axis. Adrastea was discovered by D. Jewitt and E. Danielson (Voyager 2) in 1979.
AMALTHEA
Amalthea is the third-closest moon to Jupiter and the reddest object in our solar system . Amalthea is 145 x 91 x 83 miles (232 x146 x134 km) in diameter and orbits 112,700 miles (181,300 km) from Jupiter, within the faint Gossamer ring. Amalthea and Thebe likely provide the dust for the Gossamer ring. Amalthea has a mass of 7.2 x 1021kg. It orbits Jupiter in 0.49817905 (Earth) days and is in synchronous rotation (always keeping the same side facing Jupiter). Amalthea gives off more heat than it receives from the Sun. Amalthea was discovered by Edward Emerson Barnard in 1892.
THEBE
Thebe is the fourth-closest moon to Jupiter. Thebe is 68 x 56 miles (110 x 90 km) in diameter and orbits 138,000 miles (222,000 km) from Jupiter. Amalthea and Thebe likely provide the dust for the Gossamer ring. Thebe has a mass of 8 x 1017kg. It orbits Jupiter in 0.6745 day (Earth) days and is in synchronous rotation (always keeping the same side facing Jupiter). Thebe was discovered by Stephen Synnott (Voyager 1) in 1980.

THE GALILEAN MOONS

Two sulfurous eruptions on Io. Pillan Patera, a volcanic caldera at the left, spews sulfur 86 miles above the surface.
IO

Io is a large, rocky, volcanically active moon of Jupiter. Its volcanoes spew out molten sulfur, making Io a very colorful moon. It is the innermost of Jupiter's four large moons and the third largest. It has a diameter of 1,942 miles (3,636 km), very close in size to our moon. Io's mean distance from Jupiter is 220,000 miles (422,000 km). It has a mass of 8.93x1022 kg. It takes Io 1.77 days to orbit Jupiter. There is a doughnut-shaped plasma cloud around Jupiter near Io's orbit (known as the "Io plasma torus") This torus is caused by Jupiter's strong magnetic field, which strips ions from Io as it rotates; Io acts like an electrical generator. Io was discovered by Galileo and Marius (independently) in 1610.

Ole Romer (1644-1710) was a Danish astronomer who, in 1675-1676, was the first person to demonstrate that the speed of light is finite. Romer did this by observing eclipses of Jupiter's moon Io as Jupiter's distance from Earth varied through the year. He noticed that the observed period of Io's orbit differed by about 20 minutes; he concluded that this difference was due to the extra distance that the light had to travel to Earth. His calculations put the speed of light at about 225,000 kilometers per second (it is really a bit faster, at 299,792 kilometers per second).
EUROPA
Europa is a large, dense, icy moon of Jupiter. Europa is the smoothest object in our Solar System. Its surface is covered with long, crisscrossing trackways (but few craters) on water ice. Frozen sulfuric acid has been found on its surface. Europa's diameter is less than 2,000 miles (3,138 km), smaller than the Earth's moon. It takes Europa 3.55 days to orbit Jupiter (in a synchronous orbit). Its mean distance from Jupiter is about 420,000 miles (670,900 km). Its mass is 4.80x1022 kg. It was discovered by Galileo and S. Marius (independently) in 1610.
GANYMEDE
Ganymede is the largest moon of Jupiter, a large, icy, outer moon that is scarred with impact craters and many parallel faults. It has a diameter of about 3,400 miles (5,268 km) and orbits Jupiter at a mean distance of 664,000 miles (1,070,000 km). It has a magnetic field and probably has a molten iron core. It takes Ganymede 171.75 hours (7.15 Earth days) to orbit Jupiter. Its mass is 1.48x1023 kg. It was discovered by Galileo and S. Marius (independently) in 1610. Ganymede is the largest moon in the solar system; it is also larger than the planets Mercury and Pluto.
CALLISTO
Callisto is a large, icy, dark-colored, low-density outer moon of Jupiter that is scarred with impact craters and ejecta. It has a diameter of about 3,000 miles (4800 km), the second-largest moon of Jupiter; it is roughly the size of Mercury. Callisto has the largest-known impact crater in the Solar System, Valhalla, which has a bright patch 600 km across and rings that go out to almost 3000 km. Callisto orbits Jupiter at a mean distance of 1,170,000 miles (1,883,000 km). Its mass is 1.08x1023 kg. It takes Callisto 400.8 hours = 16.7 days to orbit Jupiter (in a synchronous orbit). Callisto was discovered by Galileo and S. Marius (independently) in 1610.

LEDA
Leda is Jupiter's ninth and smallest moon. Leda is 9.9 miles (16 km km) in diameter and orbits at an average of 6,900,000 miles (11,094,000 km) from Jupiter. Leda has a mass of 5.68 x 1015kg. It orbits Jupiter in 238.72 (Earth) days. Very little is known about Leda. Leda was discovered by Charles Kowal in 1974.
HIMALIA
Himalia is Jupiter's tenth moon. Himalia is 110 miles (170 km) in diameter and orbits 7,000,000 miles (11,480,000 km) from Jupiter. Himalia has a mass of 9.5 x 1018kg. It orbits Jupiter in 250.5662 (Earth) days. Very little is known about Himalia. Himalia was discovered by C. Perrine in 1904.
LYSITHEA
Lysithea is Jupiter's eleventh moon. Lysithea is 15 miles (24 km) in diameter and orbits 7,200,000 miles (11,720,000 km) from Jupiter. Lysithea has a mass of 8 x 1016kg. It orbits Jupiter in 259.22 (Earth) days. Very little is known about Lysithea. Lysithea was discovered by S. Nicholson in 1938.
ELARA
Elara is Jupiter's twelfth moon. Elara is 50 miles (80 km) in diameter and orbits 7,250,000 miles (11,737,000 km) from Jupiter. Elara has a mass of 8 x 1017kg. It orbits Jupiter in 259.6528 (Earth) days. Very little is known about Elara. Elara was discovered by C. Perrine in 1905.
ANANKE
Ananke is Jupiter's thirteenth moon. Ananke is 12.5 miles (20 km) in diameter and orbits 13,100,000 miles (21,200,000 km) from Jupiter. Ananke has a mass of 4 x 1016kg. It orbits Jupiter in 631 (Earth) days and is in a retrograde orbit (orbiting opposite to the direction of Jupiter). Very little is known about Ananke. Ananke was discovered by S. Nicholson in 1951.
CARME
Carme is Jupiter's fourteenth moon. Carme is 18.5 miles (30 km) in diameter and orbits 13,800,000 miles (22,600,000 km) from Jupiter. Carme has a mass of 9 x 1016kg. It orbits Jupiter in 692 (Earth) days and is in a retrograde orbit (orbiting opposite to the direction of Jupiter). Very little is known about Carme. Carme was discovered by S. Nicholson in 1938.
PASIPHAE
Pasiphae is Jupiter's fifteenth moon. Pasiphae is 22 miles (36 km) in diameter and orbits 14,600,000 miles (23,500,000 km) from Jupiter. Pasiphae has a mass of 2 x 1023kg. It orbits Jupiter in 735 (Earth) days and is in a retrograde orbit (orbiting opposite to the direction of Jupiter). Very little is known about Pasiphae. Pasiphae was discovered by P. Melotte in 1908.
SINOPE
Sinope is Jupiter's sixteenth moon. Sinope is 17.5 miles (28 km) in diameter and orbits 14,700,000 miles (23,700,000 km) from Jupiter. Sinope has a mass of 8 x 1016kg. It orbits Jupiter in 758 (Earth) days and is in a retrograde orbit (orbiting opposite to the direction of Jupiter). Very little is known about Sinope. Sinope was discovered by S. Nicholson in 1914.
S/1999 J 1 (a provisional name)
The seventeenth and outermost moon; S/1999 J 1 is the smallest-known moon orbiting a major planet. This moon is 3 miles (5 km) in diameter and has an irregular orbit roughly 15 million miles (24 million km) from Jupiter. It orbits Jupiter in 774 (Earth) days and is in a retrograde orbit (orbiting opposite to the direction of Jupiter). It was discovered by Robert S. McMillan et al (at the Spacewatch program at the University of Arizona ) in 2000.




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