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Jupiter XXXII

A small moon of Jupiter, measuring just 3km across, that orbits the planet in a retrograde direction. This retrograde orbit - that is, against the rotation of Jupiter itself - implies that Eurydome was not originally formed within the Jovian system. Rather, the moon appears to be a fragmented part of a larger asteroid, captured and broken to pieces by Jupiter's immense gravitational force.

Eurydome is in fact part of a small swarm of similar bodies, all following retrograde orbits of their own at distances ranging around 23 million kilometres from the giant planet. The largest remnant of the original asteroid is Pasiphae, a moon much larger than Eurydome at some 40-50km in diameter that follows an orbit a little more distant from Jupiter than Eurydome's. From this larger moon the entire group takes its name: these asteroid fragments, including Eurydome, are collectively known as the Pasiphae group.

Eurydome takes its name (which is pronounced yoor-ID-o-mee) from Greek mythology, in which Eurydome was the mother of the three Charites or Graces. The main significance of the name is that it ends with an -e, which by convention identifies the moon as one that follows a retrograde orbit.


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