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Nothing But the Facts About Jupiter’s Moon, Europa - II

written by: Astroearth•edited by: RC Davison•updated: 8/21/2009

Europa's surface is among the brightest in the solar system, through a mixture of an icy glaze and sunlight reflecting off a relatively young icy crust. Its face is also among the smoothest, lacking the heavily cratered appearance characteristic of Callisto and Ganymede.

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    The Facts

    Europa is named after the beautiful Phoenician princess who, according to Greek mythology, Zeus saw gathering flowers and fell in love.

    Europa is one of the brightest object in our solar system. When seen with a telescope the surface of Europa is rich in beauty.The long, dark lines are fractures in the crust, some of which are more than 3,000 kilometers (1,850 miles) long.Europa is best seen with colour filters.

    Most of the images taken by hubble or NASA are colour enhanced using a combination different wavelengths from infrared to ultraviolet.

    This image shows two views of the hemisphere of Europa. The left image shows the approximate natural color appearance of Europa. The image on the right is a false-color composite 

    Although Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei is accredited to the discovery of Jupiter’s 4 largest moons it was German astronomer Simon Marius who named the four moons of Jupiter: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. All four are named after mythological figures. Both astronomers claimed to have discovered them, around 1610, and it is highly likely both did so independently. A dispute over priority relegated Marius into relative obscurity.

    This image shows two views of the hemisphere of Europa. The left image shows the approximate natural color appearance of Europa. The image on the right is a false-color composite image.

    The Facts

    1. Europa is the smallest of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter

    2. Diameter (km): 3,138

    3. Mass (kg): 4.8e22 kg

    4. Mass (Earth = 1) 0.0083021

    5. Surface Gravity (Earth = 1): 0.135

    6. Mean Distance from Jupiter (km): 670,900

    7. Mean Distance From Jupiter (Rj): 9.5

    8. Mean Distance from Sun (AU): 5.203

    9. Orbital period (days): 3.551181

    10.Rotational period (days): 3.551181

    11.Density (gm/cm³) 3.01

    12.Orbit Eccentricity: 0.009

    13.Orbit Inclination (degrees): 0.470

    14.Orbit Speed (km/sec): 13.74

    15.Escape velocity (km/sec): 2.02

    16.Visual Albedo: 0.64

    Surface Composition: Water Ice

    Credits:

    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov

Jupiter's Moon, Europa, One of the Galilean Moons

Read the facts about the fourth largest Galilean moon of Jupiter, Europa. Mythological, physical, orbital and theoretical facts about Europa are available in this series.
  1. Nothing But the Facts About Jupiter's Moon, Europa - I
  2. Nothing But the Facts About Jupiter’s Moon, Europa - II