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Jupiter XXXVI

One of a swarm of small moons orbiting Jupiter at distances between approximately twenty-three and twenty-four million kilometres. These are highly inclined retrograde moons, implying that they did not originate within the Jovian system, but instead represent the results of an asteroid being captured by Jupiter's gravity. The largest of this group is Pasiphae, some sixty kilometres across, which is thought to represent the substantial bulk of the original asteroid, and after which the whole group is named the Pasiphae Group.

Sponde appears to represent a fragment of the original body that broke away during the capture event. Apart from Pasiphae (and the relatively large Sinope) all of the other members of the group (of which there appear to be about seventeen in total) are tiny objects. Sponde is one of the smallest of these, with a diameter estimated at just two kilometres.

Sponde takes its name from one of the Greek Horae, or spirits who presided over the hours of the day. The final 'e' of the name should be distinctly expressed, so the full name Sponde is pronounced approximately as 'Spondee'.


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