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Jupiter Moon: Thebe!

An image of Thebe taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft on January 4, 2000, at a range of 193,000 kilometers. These two images of the Jovian moon Thebe were taken by Galileo's solid state imaging system in November 1996 and June 1997, respectively. North is approximately up in both cases.

Thebe, whose longest dimension is approximately 116 kilometers (72 miles) across, is tidally locked so that the same side of the satellite always points towards Jupiter, similar to how the near side of our own Moon always points toward Earth. In such a tidally locked state, one side of Thebe always points in the direction in which Thebe moves as it orbits about Jupiter. This is called the 'leading side' of the moon and is shown at the left. There appear to be at least three or four very large impact craters on the satellite -very large in the sense that each of these craters is roughly comparable in size to the radius of Thebe. In Greek mythology, Thebe (a nymph) was the daughter Asopus (the river god). Thebe, was discovered by Stephen Synnott in 1979 (Voyager 1).


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