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Jupiter and Its Four Largest Moons

Jupiter, the King of the Heavens, is not only the largest of the planets, but also has four enormous moons and over 60 smaller moons. Jupiter, the Master of the Heavens, has four large moons and nearly 60 smaller moons. He also happens to be a Jovian planet. Because the name of this planet is taken from a Roman god of the sky, it is sometimes described to as the “Lord of the Heavens” or “Lord of the Skies” (Cavendish pg. 162.) In addition to being a gas giant, this planet is also one of the four Jovian king planets, and it may be found in the Solar System’s most remote regions. The inner core of gas giants consists primarily of stony components and is dense and hot, in addition to having a dense and dense environment of hydrogen and helium surrounding them.

Jupiter’s core is compact and dense, with a mass and radius around 20 times greater than Earth’s (Lashley pg. 1.) The Great Red Spot and other storms the size of Earth cover Jupiter’s atmosphere (Moore pg. 119.) Most likely the longest-lasting storm on Earth, the Great Red Spot is located in Jupiter. The orange color of the area may be due to chemical compounds that are present in it, according to scientists. Robert Hooke first documented the Red spot in 1666. Despite the fact that it appears to be shrinking over time, there is no way to tell if it will ever completely disappear (Moore pg. 127.)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is responsible for space exploration and discoveries (NASA). As a result, on April 6, 1973, NASA launched Pioneer 11, a spacecraft designed to acquire further information about the gas giant Jupiter, into orbit. Pioneer 11, which came in second place after Pioneer 10, was a satellite mission that was sent to Jupiter to examine the planet. Pioneer 11 made its historic landing on Jupiter in late November and early December 1974, making it the first spacecraft to accomplish so since the Apollo missions (Albert Opp pg. 447.) Following data from Pioneer 10’s maiden mission, Pioneer 11 discovered that the magnetosphere is significantly larger than previously anticipated.

Launched on September 5, 1977, Voyager 1 was tasked with furthering our understanding of Jupiter, just like the Pioneer 11 mission. It was in January 1979 that NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft began taking pictures of Jupiter, giving us a better look at its atmosphere. Evidence from the Voyager spacecraft suggests that Jupiter has a magnet tail that extends beyond its own magnetic field. The solar wind and Jupiter’s magnetic field interact to produce this tail (Norman Ness pg. 982.) After the first traveler mission made its important discoveries, NASA established the Voyager 2 project to continue exploring the planet. Launched on August 20, 1977, Voyager 2 came closest to Jupiter on July 9, 1979, marking the 20th anniversary of the spacecraft’s departure. The four largest moons of Jupiter were also extensively photographed by the first and second Voyager missions. Second-mission data revealed that erosive intensity and plume structure and surface albedo patterns had changed on Io (Bradford Smith pg. 928.) Ganymed’s cratered surface was found to be the result of widespread tectonism, which was previously thought to be the case. Europa, Jupiter’s moon, has overlapping bright and dark linear patterns, according to recent research. The Voyager 2 spacecraft revealed that Callisto, the last of the largest moons, was heavily cratered, with the exception of two enormous circular basins.

NASA’s second-to-last mission to Jupiter prior to Juno was Galileo. This year’s Galileo mission to Jupiter and its four Galilean moons was started on October 18th of that year. Galileo was the scientist who discovered the four largest moons of Jupiter; hence this mission was named after him. The fact that Jupiter has two separate wind movements was one of the most important discoveries made by this mission, which used two accelerometer sensors on the Galileo probe (Seiff, A and R.C. Blanchard pg. 651.) From one of the wind movements, the wind speed increases substantially with depth, whereas in the other, the wind speed remains unchanged. These findings are in agreement with the Jovian winds, as measured by Doppler tracking.

There are 66 known moons surrounding the Lord of the Heavens, four of which are particularly large. Galileo Galilei, an Italian Renaissance scientist, was a pioneer in the field of astronomy. In 1609, Galileo got to hear of a Dutch lens producer who made glasses to magnify objects because he was fascinated by what lay beyond our planet. In order to see beyond the boundaries of our planet, this scientist built his own telescope. The four largest moons of Jupiter were discovered thanks to Galileo’s telescope (Lutgens and Tarbuck pg. 480.) Each of these four moons is the size of a planet, yet they are all distinct in some way. All of the moons share a characteristic in common: they all appear to be ice covered in some way. Craters, ridges, spots, volcanoes, and other geological features on some of these worlds serve to link them together. Four planet-sized moons discovered by Galileo were published in his book Parameter Nuncius, which implies Message from the Stars, in 1610, following Galileo’s discovery (Blunck pg.2.) Moons appear as small discs when viewed through a telescope of the average quality. The true picture of the moons can only be seen with a telescope or satellite that is more powerful than the average. It is sometimes referred to as the Galilean satellites because he was the first to find them. The mythology of Jupiter inspired the names of the four planets. The four moons of Jupiter, the monarch of the universe, were given their names after a few of his most devoted loves.

He fooled the first moon, Callisto, by posing as Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, whom Callisto served (Cavendish pg. 163.) Callisto is the third-largest moon in the solar system after Titan and Ganymede. Callisto is a lot like the moon we have here on Earth, with a few notable exceptions. Initially, it looks that Callisto’s surface is highly cratered and its hue is dark. For billions of years, asteroids and comets have collided with Callisto, resulting in enormous craters on its surface (Pappalardo pg. 35.) Second, Calisto’s surface appears to be flawless. Callisto’s smooth appearance is due to the fact that its surface is covered in frozen seas of water and ice, rather than rock. Because of the ice cubes that cover the moon’s surface, carbon dioxide leaks out and explains why Callisto’s atmosphere appears to be so thin.

Jupiter morphed into a magnificent eagle to woo Ganymede, the second moon (Cavendish pg. 163.) Ganymede, Jupiter’s biggest moon, is also the heaviest. Geological activity can be seen on Ganymede in the form of earthquakes and faults. Ganymede contains faults and valleys and ridges as well (Pappalardo pg. 35.) Ganymede, like Callisto, is covered in craters from comet and asteroid debris. The moon Ganymede has a stony interior and may include water-shooting volcanoes that spray water to the surface, which then freezes and fills some of the moon’s craters.

Europa was Jupiter’s next target, and he attempted to court her by assuming the form of a big bull (Cavendish pg. 164.) The fourth largest moon, Europa, is the shortest of the four. Cracked and frozen, the surface of Europa resembles Ganymede’s with ridges, bands, patches, and cracks covering the surface (Pappalardo pg. 35.) Ganymede’s icy surface is dragged and stretched as it orbits Jupiter, resulting in the ridges and bands on its surface. The warm water rising to the cold surface is most likely to blame for the spots.

Io is also one of Jupiter’s largest moons, and it is the most unique of the bunch. Io is unique because it is the only moon in the solar system that appears to be volcanically active. In contrast to Earth’s volcanoes, which spew lava and ash, these craters spew sulfur. Also, Io is the smallest of the three Galilean moons, and its surface is covered in whirling formations of sulfur and lava. The orange coloration of Io is caused by the sulfur that blankets the whole surface of the moon. In comparison to Earth’s moon, Io is the smallest of the four biggest (Lutgens and Tarbuck pg. 498.)

Galileo’s creative imagination has led to a greater understanding of the universe beyond our own. Four of Jupiter’s largest moons were discovered by him using a handmade telescope, that we’re still researching today. We are still sending satellites to Jupiter and its moons to conduct surveys and take images today. As a nod to Jupiter’s legendary wife, the scientists who launched the latest satellite dubbed it Juno. What a better description for the satellite that will monitor Jupiter and its moons than Juno, Jupiter’s jealous wife.


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