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Thebe (thee'-bee, IPA /'θi:bi:/; Greek Θήβη) is the fourth of Jupiter's known moons by distance from the planet. It was discovered by Voyager 1 on March 5, 1979 and was first given the temporary name S/1979 J 2. Later, it was found on images dating back to February 27, 1979. In 1983 it was officially named after the mythological nymph Thebe who was the daughter of the river god Asopus. It is also designated Jupiter XIV.


Image of Thebe taken by the Galileo
spacecraft on January 4, 2000.

Discovered by Stephen P. Synnott / Voyager 1
Discovered on March 5, 1979
Orbital characteristics
Mean radius 221,900 km (0.001483 AU)
Periastron 218,000 km (0.00146 AU)
Apastron 226,000 km (0.00151 AU)
Eccentricity 0.0177
Revolution period 0.6745 d (16 h 11.3 min)
Orbital circumference 1,394,000 km (0.009 AU)
Orbital velocity max: 24.352 km/s
mean: 23.923 km/s
min: 23.505 km/s
Inclination 3.12° (to the ecliptic)
0.90° (to Jupiter's equator)
Is a satellite of Jupiter
Physical characteristics
Mean diameter 96 km (110×90 km)
Surface area 33,500 km2
Volume ~470,000 km3
Mass 1.5×1018 kg
Mean density 3.0 g/cm3
Surface gravity 0.0041 m/s2 (0.004 g)
Escape velocity 0.0064 km/s
Rotation period synchronous
rotation velocity
21 km/h
Axial tilt zero
Albedo 0.047
Surface temp.
min mean max
K ~124 K K
Atmospheric pressure 0 kPa

It is the outermost of the inner Jovian moons.

There appear to be at least three or four very large Theban impact craters (very large in the sense that each of these craters is roughly comparable in size to the radius of Thebe). Little else is known about this moon.


Images of Thebe

... | Amalthea | Thebe | Io | ...

Jupiter's natural satellites

Inner satellites | Galilean moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto | Themisto | Himalia group | Carpo | S/2003 J 12 | Ananke group | Carme group | Pasiphaë group | S/2003 J 2

Astronomy Encyclopedia

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