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The @stro object for the week of 01/10/2000

image of Europa

image courtesy of SEDS

Europa. Europa is one of the largest moons in the solar system and orbits the planet Jupiter. It was first discovered in 1610 by Galileo. It has a very smooth appearance except for ridges and a few meteor impact craters. These ridges, it is theorized, are the result of tidal forces caused by liquid water shifting under its surface due to the gravitational forces of Jupiter. This implies that the surface of Europa is actually a layer of ice mixed with other minerals. Should the presence of liquid water be confirmed it could indicate another place in the solar system (Mars being the first) that deserves some investigation of past or present life. Europa is easily visible in a small telescope if it is not behind Jupiter from our perspective. The Galileo spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter made a New Year's day fly-by of Europa and its data is forthcoming to the public.

Current information for Europa (info for Jupiter):
Rise: 1140 PST
Set: 0034 PST
Magnitude: n/a
Constellation: Pisces
Phase: n/a

more info...

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