Europa's orbit

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Europa's orbit

Post by tomshan16 »

I understand how Europa stays in orbit, but I was curious as to the distance from Jupiter it is and the speed it travels. Being slightly smaller than our Moon (but I am assuming more dense due to the presumed subterranean ocean) how does it maintain it's orbit without being pulled into Jupiter? Do the orbits of Ganymede and Io serve to balance it? Or is it migrating away from Jupiter like our own moon?

Thanks in advance, Tom
brian livesey
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Re: Europa's orbit

Post by brian livesey »

Europa's greatest distance from Jupiter is given as 676,938 km. It's orbital period is 3.55 days.
David Frydman
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Re: Europa's orbit

Post by David Frydman »

. All of Jupiter's main moons are in resonance. In other words the time each one takes to go around Jupiter is a simple fraction of its pair.
I think that resonance is common with the major planets which have several or many moons.

This resonance may also apply to the gaps in Saturn's rings, but I cannot remember exactly.

It is likely that the period of any moon around a planet will not be exactly constant over time.
Every object has a gravitational pull that affects other objects.

In fact the orbital periods of any celestial body varies over time, but maybe not noticeable on a human timescale.

Regards, David
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Re: Europa's orbit

Post by Mogget »

The density of Europa (3.01) is less than Earth's Moon (3.34). With respect to the four Galilean satellites, only Io (3.50) has a density greater than our Moon.
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