HomeAstronomyAmalthea: Facts about Jupiter’s unusual inner moon

Amalthea: Facts about Jupiter’s unusual inner moon

The moon Amalthea is one of Jupiter’s 53 named satellites; it was the first to be discovered after the four Galilean moons, and it is the fifth-largest overall. In terms of proximity to Jupiter, Amalthea is the planet’s third moon — it takes just 12 hours to make a full orbit.

Amalthea: Quick facts

Shape: Irregular

Size: Mean radius of 51.88 miles (83.5 kilometers) ± 1.49 miles (2.4 kilometers)

Average distance from Jupiter: 112,717 miles (181,400 kilometers)

Orbit period: 11 hours, 54 minutes

Temperature: 155 ± 15 Kelvin

Composition: Rocky, specifics unknown 

Astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard discovered Amalthea on September 9, 1892, while astronomer Camille Flammarion suggested the name Amalthea after the Greek mythological figure. Amalthea was the final planetary satellite in the solar system to be discovered by direct observation — that is, via a telescope rather than an imaging device like a satellite or a probe.

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