Jupiter is the 5th planet from the Sun and is the largest planet in the solar system. It is classified as a gas giant along with the other outer planets; Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Jupiter has been known since ancient times and it is usually the 3rd brightest object in the night sky. It is also known as the planet in the solar system with the most moons. Let’s take a look at just how many moons are orbiting Jupiter.
How many moons does Jupiter have?
There have been 64 moons discovered that orbit Jupiter. They are classified into 6 different groups, and 2 single moons that make up a group on their own, depending on the distance they orbit. These groups are named; Inner group, Galilean moons, Themisto (a single moon), Himalia group, Carpo (another single moon), Ananke group, Carme group, Pasiphaë group (outermost moons). The largest of the moons are found in the Galilean moons group. This group contains 4 moons called Ganymede, Callisto, Io, and Europa. They are some of the largest objects in the solar system and Ganymede is bigger than the planet Mercury!
The Galilean moons were discovered by famous astronomer Galileo Galilei in 1610. They were the first objects to be found orbiting a planet other than Earth. It wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that some of the other moons were found. Most of the 64 moons to have been discovered were found after the 2001. The last moon that was discovered, still unnamed, was found in 2010. There is a distinct possibility that more moons will be found in the future.