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Jupiter’s Innermost Moons

5 Jul 2014, 22:00 UTC
Jupiter’s Innermost Moons
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“Tiny specks, even in the cameras’ best magnification. Captured asteroids, undoubtedly; minor worldlets that had been seized by the king and forced to circle his majesty until one day they approached too close and were ground into dust by Jupiter’s enormous gravitational power.”- Ben Bova, Jupiter (2001)This is a portrait of the 4 innermost moons of Jupiter. From left to right, arranged in order of decreasing distance from Jupiter, are Thebe, Amalthea, Adrastea and Metis. These images were taken by the Galileo spacecraft between November 1996 and June 1997. Image credit: NASA/Cornell University.Jupiter is best known for its 4 large Galilean moons - Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. Each measuring thousands of kilometres in size, the 4 Galilean moons are unique worlds in their own right. Ganymede, for example, is larger in size than the planet Mercury. In addition to the 4 Galilean moons, dozens and dozens of tiny moons circle Jupiter. Situated closer to Jupiter than Io are 4 tiny moons - Metis, Adrastea, Amalthea and Thebe. They comprise the innermost moons of Jupiter. Metis is the innermost of the 4 moons, and from its surface, Jupiter would span a whopping 67.9 degrees. Metis, Adrastea, Amalthea and Thebe have ...

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