When we talk of Jupiter, we imagine big. So, it is pretty natural for us to think of Europa – one of the many moons of the gas planet as a gigantic celestial body too! However, that’s not really true! Despite its grouping and despite being a natural satellite of the biggest planet in our solar system, Europa is really small. It is surprising right? Well, it came as a surprise to us too! In this article titled 30 Interesting Europa Facts, we are going to explore this interesting celestial body and reveal some of the most surprising facts about it. So, gear up! It is going to get interesting and surprising soon!
Interesting Europa Facts: 1-10
1. Europa is one of 67 moons of Jupiter. It is the 6th largest satellite in entire solar system and the fourth largest satellite of Jupiter.
2. Europa belongs to a group of satellites of Jupiter that are together known as the Galilean Moons. Galileans moons are the largest of all moons of Jupiter and there are 4 satellites in this group.
3. Europa is thus, the smallest moon of the Galilean group of moons. Interestingly enough, despite being the 6th largest, Europa is smaller than the moon of our Earth.
4. Europa was discovered back in 1610 on January 8. The credit for the discovery of Europa is given to Galileo Galilei. However, many experts believe that Simon Marius – an astronomer from Germany, may have discovered the moon around the same time.
5. The Galilean Moons of Jupiter are so called in honor of Galileo. However, Galileo himself gave separate name for the four largest moons of the gaseous planet.
6. In order to honor the Medici family, Galileo named the moons as Medicean Planets despite the fact that they were actually satellites.
7. Many experts think that Galileo actually discovered Europa on 7th of January 1610 (a day before the widely accepted discovery date) but since Galileo was using a self-designed low powered telescope, he thought that Io and Europa were same but later realized that they were two different bodies.
8. It was the discovery of Europa that helped scientists to realize that Earth was not the center of our solar system and that all planets including earth revolves around sun. Interestingly however, as again, westerners take the credit for this realization which first came from ancient Indian astronomer name Aryabhatta, who, in his magnus opus Aryabhaitya actually told that sun lies at the center of the solar system and all planets revolve around it. In case you don’t know, Aryabhatta live in 476-550 CE (if at all the western dates are correct) – more than 1000 years before Galileo even came to existence. Aryabhatta also gave this world the ZERO.
9. Europa derives its name from Greek Mythology where it is said that Europa was the daughter of a king and became a lover of Greek god Zeus. She was made queen of Crete and Zeus fathered several children with Europa.
10. Galileo actually named Europa as Jupiter II thinking that Europa was the second closest moon to the massive planet.