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Family Portrait of the Small Inner Satellites of Jupiter

Target Name:  Metis, Adrastea, Amalthea, Thebe
Spacecraft:  Galileo
Produced by:  NASA/Cornell University
Copyright: Public Domain

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These images, taken by Galileo's solid state imaging system between November 1996 and June 1997, provide the first ever "family portrait" of the four small, irregularly shaped moons that orbit Jupiter in the zone between the planet's ring and the larger Galilean satellites. The moons are shown in their correct relative sizes, with north approximately up in all cases. From left to right, arranged in order of increasing distance from Jupiter, are Metis (longest dimension is approximately 60 kilometers or 37 miles across), Adrastea (20 kilometers or 12 miles across), Amalthea (247 kilometers or 154 miles across), and Thebe (116 kilometers or 72 miles across). While Amalthea, the largest of these four tiny moons, was imaged by NASA's two Voyager spacecraft in 1979 with a resolution comparable to what is shown here, the new Galileo observations represent the first time that Metis, Adrastea, and Thebe have been seen as more than points of light.

Copyright © 1995-2013 by Calvin J. Hamilton. All rights reserved.