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The @stro object for the week of 02/28/2000

image of Ganymede

image courtesy of SEDS

Ganymede. Ganymede is one of the "Galilean Moons" orbiting Jupiter. This rocky & icy moon was first discovered in 1610 by Galileo. It is the largest satellite in the solar system and is even larger than the planet Pluto. Ganymede is thought to be composed of three layers: (1) a molten core, (2) a rocky mantle and (3) an icy shell. Meteor impact craters abound on the surface and the areas of white coloration in the image are in fact patches of clean ice kicked up by these impacts. In addition, Ganymede has its own magnetic field, and there is evidence of past tectonic action, although no current surface shifting has been discovered.

Ganymede is easily visible in a small telescope if it is not behind Jupiter from our perspective. The Galileo spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter has made many fantastic fly-bys of Ganymede and taken many excellent images of its surface.

Current information for Ganymede (info for Jupiter - North America):
Rise: 0839 PST
Set: 2250 PST
Constellation: Aries

more info...

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