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Jupiter Moon: Himalia!

NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured images of Himalia, the brightest of Jupiter's outer moons, on Dec. 19, 2000, from a distance of 4.4 million km.

Himalia, the eleventh satellite of Jupiter was discovered by C. Perrine in 1904. In Greek mythology, Himalia (a nymph) was the mother of three sons of Zeus. There is very little information known about Himalia. Himalia probably has a non-spherical shape. Scientists believe it is a body captured into orbit around Jupiter, most likely an irregularly shaped asteroid.

In the main frame, an arrow indicates Himalia. North is up. The inset shows the little moon magnified by a factor of 10, plus a graphic indicating Himalia's size and the direction of lighting (with sunlight coming from the left). Cassini's pictures of Himalia were taken during a brief period when Cassini's attitude was stabilized by thrusters instead of by a steadier reaction-wheel system. No spacecraft or telescope had previously shown any of Jupiter's outer moons as more than a star-like single dot.


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