Callisto is the second largest of Jupiter’s known moons and is the eight moon from the planet. It is also the third largest moon in the entire Solar System and has a similar size to the planet Mercury.
Callisto orbits just beyond Jupiter’s main radiation belt and is the outermost of the four Galilean moons. These are the largest moons of Jupiter: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. All of these moons were discovered in 1610 by the famous Italian scientist Galileo.
Interesting Facts About Callisto
The name of the moon comes from Greek mythology
Callisto was a nymph in Greek mythology who had an affair with Zeus, the god of the sky and king of gods. When Zeus’ wife Hera found out, she changed Callisto into a star. Zeus then transformed her into a star and placed her in the sky as the star constellation Ursa Major — known as the Great Bear, or the Plough.
There is also a constellation called Little Bear, which was the son of Zeus and Callisto. Each of the moons of Jupiter was named for somebody seduced by Zeus.
Callisto has 99% of the diameter of Mercury but is only one third the mass
Callisto has a diameter of 4,820.60 km. This is only 58.40 km less than Mercury, but the mass of Mercury is three times greater at 330,104,000000,000 billion kg to Callisto’s 107.595,737,963,819 billion kg.
The Galilean moons were discovered by scientist Galileo in 1610
The four largest moons are known as the Galilean moons because it was Galileo who discovered them with a telescope in 1610. They hadn’t been discovered before because they can’t be seen with the naked eye and Galileo was the first person to design a telescope to be used to look into space.
Callisto can’t be classified as a planet because it doesn’t orbit the Sun
The moon is bigger than dwarf planet Pluto and a similar size to Mercury, but it can’t be called a planet because it orbits Jupiter and not the Sun. Orbiting the Sun is one of the main factors in a body being officially named as a planet.
Callisto has more craters than other other object in the Solar System
Scientists believe that Callisto is a dead world with no signs of geological activity like plate tectonics or volcanism. This is why it is the most heavily cratered object in the Solar System – the moon has no way to heal itself.
Callisto is 60% rock and iron and 40% ice
The moon is made of both rock and water in almost equal measures. There are also traces of water ice, carbon dioxide, silicates and organic compounds on Callisto’s surface. The Galileo space craft mission that visited Jupiter also showed that there may be a sub surface ocean of liquid water that is about 100 km below the surfacr
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