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NASA’s Juno mission spots Jupiter’s tiny moon Amalthea

14 May 2024 21:50 (UTC+04:00)
NASA’s Juno mission spots Jupiter’s tiny moon Amalthea

NASA’s Juno mission captured these views of Jupiter during its 59th close flyby of the giant planet on March 7, 2024, Azernews reports citing to the official website of the organization.

With a radius of just 52 miles (84 kilometers), Amalthea has a potato-like shape, lacking the mass to pull itself into a sphere. In 2000, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft revealed some surface features, including impact craters, hills, and valleys. Amalthea circles Jupiter inside Io’s orbit, which is the innermost of the planet’s four largest moons, taking 0.498 Earth days to complete one orbit.

Amalthea is the reddest object in the solar system, and observations indicate it gives out more heat than it receives from the Sun. This may be because, as it orbits within Jupiter’s powerful magnetic field, electric currents are induced in the moon’s core. Alternatively, the heat could be from tidal stresses caused by Jupiter’s gravity.

At the time that the first of these two images was taken, the Juno spacecraft was about 165,000 miles (265,000 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops, at a latitude of about 5 degrees north of the equator.

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