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Callisto is one of Jupiter's many moons.
Callisto is a moon of the planet Jupiter. The moon Callisto was discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei. Callisto is the third-largest moon in the solar system. Callisto is about the same size as the planet Mercury.
Name of Callisto.
Callisto is named after Callisto, one of Zeus's many love interests in Greek mythology.
Although the name "Callisto" was suggested by Simon Marius soon after the moon's discovery, this name and the names of the other Galilean satellites fell into disfavour for a considerable time, and were not revived in common use until the mid-20th century. In much of the earlier astronomical literature, Callisto is simply referred to by its Roman numeral designation, Jupiter IV or as "the fourth satellite of Jupiter".
In scientific writing, the adjectival form of the name is usually Callistoan.
Physical characteristics and internal structure of the moon Callisto.
Callisto's battered surface lies on top of an icy layer that is about 150 kilometers thick. Beneath the crust lies a salty ocean in excess of 10 kilometers thick. The ocean was discovered from studies of the Magnetic Fields around Jupiter and its moons. It was found that the Callistoan magnetic field varies (flows in various directions at different times) in response to the background magnetic field generated by Jupiter; this suggests a layer of highly conductive fluid within the moon.
Beneath the ocean, Callisto seems to have a strange interior that is not entirely uniform but does not vary dramatically. Galileo orbiter data suggest that the interior is composed of compressed rock and ice, with the amount of rock increasing with depth due to partial settling of its constituents. Callisto has the lowest density of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter, only 1.86 g/cm3, and is about 40% ice and 60% rock/iron.
Surface features of Jupiter's moon Callisto.
Callisto is one of the most heavily cratered satellites in the solar system. In fact, impact craters and associated concentric rings are about the only features to be found; there are no large callistoan mountains. This is probably due to the icy nature of its surface, with the largest craters and mountains being erased by the flow of the icy crust over geological time. Two enormous concentric ring impact basins are found on Callisto; Valhalla is the largest with a bright central region that is 600 kilometers in diameter and rings extending to 3000 kilometers in diameter, and the second-largest impact basin is Asgard measuring about 1600 kilometers in diameter. Another interesting feature is Gipul Catena, a long series of impact craters lined up in a straight line across Callisto's surface. This was probably caused by an object that was tidally disrupted as it passed close to Jupiter (much like Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9) before it impacted. Callisto's crust is thought to be approximately 4 billion years old, dating back almost to the formation of the Solar System.
Unlike neighbouring Ganymede with its tectonic grooved terrain, there is little evidence of tectonic activity on Callisto. While Callisto is very similar in bulk properties to Ganymede, it apparently has a much simpler geological history. The different geologic histories of the two has been an important problem for planetary scientists. "Simple" Callisto is a good reference for comparison with other more complex worlds.
Atmosphere of the moon Callisto.
Callisto has a very tenuous atmosphere composed of carbon dioxide. Its source may be the slow sublimation of carbon dioxide ice from the satellite's icy crust.
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