Ganymede is one of the numerous satellites of the largest planets in the Solar System – Jupiter.
Here are some interesting facts about this astronomical object.
1.) Ganymede is the largest moon in the solar system with a radius of 2,634 km.
2.) This natural satellite is larger than the planet Mercury and the dwarf planet Pluto.
3.) Ganymede is composed of frozen water, which has a lower density than Mercury’s rock and iron.
4.) It was discovered independently by Italian astronomer Galileo and German astronomer Simon Marius. Galileo was the first to observe it on January 7, 1610.
5.) Ganymede and the other three large moons of Jupiter discovered in 1610—Io, Europa, and Callisto—are collectively known as the Galileans.
6.) Marius named Ganymede and the other Galileans for mythical lovers of the Greek god Zeus, whom the Romans renamed Jupiter.
7.) This satellite is named for Ganymede, a Trojan boy whom Zeus made cupbearer of the gods.
8.) Ganymede orbits Jupiter at an average distance of 1.07 million km and completes an orbit once every 7.155 Earth days.
9.) This natural satellite tidally locked, meaning that it rotates only once per orbit and keeps the same face toward Jupiter at all times.
10.) Ganymede’s nearly circular orbit parallels Jupiter’s equator.
As compared to the Earth and its moon
11.) The solid ice crust of Ganymede is about 75 km thick.
12.) The largest cratered area of Ganymede is Galileo Regio.
13.) In 1995 the Hubble Space Telescope found evidence of ozone, a molecule made up of oxygen, around Ganymede.
14.) In 1979 Voyager 1 and 2 passed close enough to Ganymede and capture detailed images of the moon.
15.) The Galileo spacecraft made its first flyby of Ganymede in June 1996 and came within 260 km of the moon in September 1996.
Gula and Achelous
16.) Ganymede has the strongest magnetic field than any other moon that has been discovered.
17.) This natural satellite has the highest mass of all planetary satellites, with 2.02 times the mass of the Earth’s moon.
18.) Ganymede is the only Galilean moon of Jupiter named after a male figure. He was a lover of Zeus.
19.) According to Chinese astronomical records, Ganymede was discovered in 365 BCE.
20.) Gula and Achelous are the two other most notable craters of Ganymede.
Image via Wikipedia