Our Moon is very influential on our planet: it affects our rotation and how we experience the nighttime. Just imagine if we had more than one Moon. While we only have a single moon, other planets have many more than us.
Saturn has as 62 confirmed moons, but that does not compare to Jupiter, which has a total of 69 known moons. Jupiter has the most moons of any planet in the Solar System. Of the 69 moons, only 53 of them have been named. That means 16 moons have yet to be named. The unnamed moons are currently called provisional moons, and they are identified by numbers and letters.
The most well known moons are also the moons that were first discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei. These four famous moons are named Callisto, Io, Europa, and Ganymede. Each of these moons have different compositions and surfaces that make them interesting and unique. Europa is primarily made of ice, and scientists think this moon as two times more water than Earth. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Io has very active volcanoes. Io is covered with sulfur, and emits large amounts of heat and magma.
You probably know that the Moon exerts lots of force on our planet, and our moon influences our tides and rotation. Imagine having 69 moons! Some of the moons, like Io, Ganymede, and Europa, are constantly pushing and pulling each other with gravitational forces. Just like we have tides on Earth, the forces of the other moons and Jupiter causes Io to experience tides of its ground.
While they do push and pull on each other, many of the moons are small. Luckily, Jupiter is a very large planet, which means it is large enough to maintain itself and the moons around it. Jupiter’s strong magnetic field helps capture and maintain objects that pass it in space.
The number of Jupiter’s moons is constantly changing as astronomers explore space further and made more discoveries. While the number of Jupiter’s moons remains in flux, the current number of moons is set at 69, but this could change with more discovery. A list of Jupiter’s confirmed and provisional moons can be found on NASA’s website. They have listed all 69 moons. You can even click on the moons to learn more about the time o their discovery as well as what they are like on the surface.