Jupiter is the 5th planet in the Solar System and the 2nd largest celestial body, the Sun being the 1st. Although its size already makes it distinguishable, among the characteristics of Jupiter, it should be noted that it has numerous moons or satellites orbiting around it, which can be regular or irregular depending on their formation. So far they have been identified more than 70 moons orbiting around this planet and, although this figure is lower than the moons that Saturn has, it is believed that Jupiter may have hidden many others, which will be discovered over the years.
If you are curious to know how many there are and what the moons of Jupiter are called, keep reading this curious article by Green Ecologist about how many moons does Jupiter have, where the four most important ones are also briefly described in order to know some of their characteristics.
Recent studies affirm that during 2022 a total of 79 moons or natural satellites orbiting Jupiter. Experts expect this figure to increase by this year 2022, since new moons have been discovered since the 17th century. If you want to get an idea of how many moons has Jupiter since 2022, you can read Edward Ashton's study et to the. titled Six hundred 1-km retrograde jovian irregular moons.
Among the satellites of Jupiter, the Galilean moons stand out. These 4 spherical moons were discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610, who considered them to be one of the largest in the Solar System. At first, Galileo called them Jupiter I, Jupiter II, Jupiter III and Jupiter IV, following an order of distance from the planet (from innermost to outermost). However, they are currently known by names of the moons of Jupiter later proposed by Simon Marius, being: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, respectively.
Are Galilean moons, which are described below, are regular moons, that is, they were formed in orbit around the planet instead of being captured, as happens with irregular moons.
Io, also coined as Jupiter I by its discoverer, is one of the 4 Galilean satellites, the third largest and closest to Jupiter (the innermost moon). Larger than the moon of planet Earth (If you are interested in learning more about the natural satellite of our planet, here we talk about what are the phases of the moon), it has a diameter of about 3,643 km and goes around Jupiter in 1.77 days at a distance of 421,800 km . This moon is characterized by several aspects:
Europa or Jupiter II, despite being the smallest Galilean satelliteWith a diameter of 3,122 km, it is one of the moons of Jupiter that arouses the most interest. But why is it so attractive? The scientific community has shown special attention on this moon because it has always been believed that under the bright surface of ice 100 km thick there was a great ocean where, due to the heat expended by the nucleus formed by nickel and iron, life is possible. This was confirmed by NASA in 2016, which has raised hopes that aquatic life will develop on the satellite, despite the fact that there is no scientific evidence yet.
Regarding other aspects of Europe, it should be noted that this satellite with an orbital radius of 671,100 km, makes a complete revolution of Jupiter in 3.5 days. The geographical features of more than 100 m in height that it has indicate the geological youth of its surface. In addition to all this, it is important to know that its atmosphere is composed of oxygen, of non-biological origin, from the water vapor that is generated as a product of the interaction between light and the frozen surface.
Ganymede or Jupiter III, as Galileo called it, is the largest Galilean moon. With a diameter of 5,262 km, Ganymede is larger than the planet closest to the sun, Mercury, and completes its orbit around Jupiter in 7 days at 1,070,400 km.
This satellite has numerous characteristics that distinguish it from the rest and give it a unique appeal:
Callisto or Jupiter IV It is also a large satellite, although with a lower density. It has a diameter of 4,821 km and orbits 1,882,700 km from Jupiter in 17 days. This moon is the outermost of the 4, which may influence the fact that it is the least affected by Jupiter's magnetic field.
It stands out for having one of the oldest geologically speaking surfaces and for having a fine atmosphere composed of oxygen and carbon dioxide. In this case, it is believed that Callisto can harbor underground oceans of liquid water.
Of the 79 moons that Jupiter has, only 8 are regular. In addition to being included in the group of regular moons The 4 Galilean moons, which we have already mentioned, are also 4 satellites of the Amalthea group (Tebe, Amalthea, Adrastea and Metis). They all have in common that they are the closest satellites to Jupiter, they rotate in the same direction and have little orbital inclination.
In contrast, irregular satellites have elliptical orbits and are at great distances from the planets. Between the jupiter's jagged moons we find: the group Himalia, Themisto, Carpo and Valetudo.
If you like to learn about what happens outside of our planet, now that you have met the moons of Jupiter, you may be interested in these other Green Ecologist articles:
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