Jupiter is the biggest planet of the solar system, and the Romans rightfully bestowed it with the name of the king of the gods. The planet is two and a half size of all the other planets combined.
With this, it comes as no surprise that a planet so big would have quite a many numbers of the moon. A total of 67 satellites has been discovered orbiting around the giant planet. This is the greatest number among any other planet in the solar system.
As mentioned above, Jupiter has 67 natural satellites. The moons of Jupiter are so many, and they are so diverse that they have been further classified. The largest of the moon is known as the Galileans or main group. This group along with other smaller groups constitutes Jupiter’s Regular Satellites. Apart from this, there are other irregular satellites and debris rings that circle the planet.
(Image Courtesy: Phys)
Galileo Galilei had made the first observation of celestial bodies that were not visible to the naked eyes. He was the one to discover moons orbiting Jupiter; these satellites were later classified as Galileans. Between the months of January and March of 1610, he had also found four more bodies that did not behave like fixed stars and were orbiting Jupiter. At the suggestion of Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo de Medici, Galileo changed the name of the moons from Cosmica Sidera to Medicea Sidera in honor of the Medici family. Simultaneously another astronomer Simon Marius discovered these moons and named them after lovers of Zeus. He named them Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Galileo refused to accept the names and came up with numerical ordering instead which is currently used along with proper moon names. So Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto became Jupiter I, II, III, and IV, respectively.
(Image Courtesy: Haiku Deck)
Discoveries Made Later
The planet might have more moons as a lot were observed but then disappeared. Astronomer Scott Sheppard who was looking for Planet X was the one to discover the latest moon of Jupiter. The four large Galilean satellites, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, are visible through binoculars or a telescope.
(Image Courtesy: NASA)
Have you ever tried seeing a celestial body in the sky through binoculars and do you think there are more mysteries to the solar system than what man has been able to discover? Share your feedback using the comment box below.